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12 September 2004
Kilmartin House Museum saved from closure

One of Scotland's most important museums has been saved from closure by a £100,000 investment package. Frank McAveety, the culture minister, helped broker the deal which will save Kilmartin House Museum in Argyll.
     Stars from the world of television archaeology had rallied to support the museum, which was due to close this month. Argyll and Bute Council had said that because of the number of projects seeking support from limited resources, there was no money available for the privately-owned museum. However, the council's strategic policy committee, which meets today, is expected to sanction a one-off payment of £10,000 which will attract a further £49,000 of public agency funding, with a guarantee of at least £36,000 over the next two years.
     Kilmartin operates as a private charitable trust and no specific agency is responsible for its services. The committee's report said that "Kilmartin is part of a group of prehistoric sites which are significant on a world scale…and there are few visitor attractions of such international potential. In tandem with the implementation of a range of actions by the trust, the report also identified the need for core public agency support to sustain a museum of the significance."
     Mr McAveety is understood to have brought together various government agencies to offer funding and guarantee a long term future for the site. Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, Forestry Commission, and the Scottish Museums Council have agreed to provide funding consequent on a number of conditions.
     Experts had feared that Kilmartin would fall through a funding loophole by failing to secure revenue funding from a local or national body. Joanne Orr, director of the Scottish Museums Council, said: "If Kilmartin House were to close a valuable resource to Argyll and Bute would be lost."

Source: The Herald (9 September 2004)

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