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National Significance of Local Collections Recognised

Funded by the Scottish Executive and managed by the Scottish Museums Council, the new Recognition Scheme will invest in significant collections that are not in the care of nationally run museums and galleries. The Recognition Scheme will help to make sure that these important collections are identified, cared for, protected and promoted to a wider audience. Organisations caring for Recognised Collections will have the opportunity to bid for a share of the £1 million earmarked by the Scottish Executive for the Recognition Scheme.  This funding will go to support the museum sector and fund projects such as increasing accessibility to collections and improving how they are cared for.

Announcing the first awards of Recognised status, Minister for Culture Linda Fabiani said: “This is a landmark occasion for Scotland's museums and galleries and the wonderful collections they display. These ten collections are not only significant to the communities in which they are located but to Scotland as a whole.”

The ten Recognised collections are located across Scotland, and are held by a local authority, universities and independent trusts from Orkney to Dumfries. Douglas Connell, Chair of the Recognition Committee, which oversees the Recognition of collections of national significance, said: “To achieve Recognition status, the applicants had to demonstrate the uniqueness, authenticity, comprehensiveness, and national value of their collection. This first round announcement highlights the wonderful diversity of Scotland’s collections and we are confident the scheme is recognising the best the country has to offer.”

Councillor Sandra McDowall, Chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education and Community Services Committee said: “Dumfries and Galloway’s Archaeology Collection, first started in the early 1800s, is representative of the region’s rich and varied past and is of immense importance to the study of the history and development of Scottish archaeology and Scottish museums. The collection has great potential to promote interest in and enjoyment of local history and culture. We are delighted that the importance of our region’s archaeology collections has been ‘Recognised’ in this way. Being acknowledged through this scheme will help to increase awareness of the collection and improve our capacity for its care and management.”

Recognised Collections
The recognised collections are held by :
• Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow
• Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther
• Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Fraserburgh
• Pier Arts Centre, Stromness
• Surgeon’s Hall Museum, Edinburgh
• University of Edinburgh’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments
• Dumfries and Galloway Museum Service’s Archaeology Collection
• Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine
• Burns Monument Trust, Alloway
• Scottish Railway Preservation Society, Bo’ness.

The Archaeology Collection, Dumfries and Galloway Museum Service
 • The Dumfries and Galloway Museum Service’s archaeology collection is one of the largest collections in Scotland. It is a comprehensive collection of Dumfries and Galloway’s material culture over an 8,000 year period and is the primary source of information for understanding the region’s prehistory and early history.
 • The collection contains over 74,600 items. According to the Scottish Museums Council’s National Audit this is the fourth largest archaeology collection in the country and represents 13% of all archaeological material held by Scotland’s non-national museums.
• The collection is representative of the region’s rich and varied past and contains material of all periods from the Mesolithic through to the 17th century including prehistoric worked flint from Luce Bay, Bronze Age axe-hammers and metalwork, Iron Age boats, Roman altars, and Early Medieval imported pottery and carved stone.
• The collection has enormous potential to promote interest in and enjoyment of local history and culture. The Museums Service has been very successful in developing projects that promote the archaeology collection and has used archaeological material in exhibitions, publications, and radio and television programmes. Unique and important artefacts have been loaned to national and international exhibitions and key objects have been digitised and are available on- line through the  Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN) and as part of the rapidly developing Future Museum project.
• Archaeological objects, both replica and original, are available in loan collections for use by school and community groups and themes derived from the archaeology collections have been used in family activities, outreach events and re-enactments.

The Kirkcudbright Artists Collection
This element of Dumfries and Galloway Museums Service’s collection was also considered by the Significance Panel who agreed to defer a decision on its status. It is possible that it will also be Recognised as a collection of national significance in future rounds of the Significance Scheme.