Regional equity

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Your editorial regarding the decision by National Museums of Scotland to close the National Museum of Costume at Shambellie House near Dumfries (5 February) is very misleading.

Shambellie House represents an important element 
of the tourism offering of 
Dumfries and Galloway, which needs indoor attractions like this to complement its outstanding natural attractions.

It was gifted to the government by a private estate and, in contrast to other museums 
operated by National Museums Scotland (NMS), has enjoyed no significant capital investment.

Nevertheless, the net cost to the public purse has been estimated at £23 per visitor, 
compared with £22 per 
visitor for the NMS museums as a whole.

Since this is the only “national” museum outside the Central Belt this seems a small price to pay to maintain some 
semblance of regional equity in displaying our cultural heritage.

It is obvious that facilities in areas of low population density, especially those with a relatively low tourism profile, are going to have a relatively low footfall – that’s no reason to give up on regional development.

This is the point that is being made by politicians like Jim Hume MSP and others representing the rural South of Scotland – an area which appears to regularly fall under the radar of Scottish agencies.

Joan Mitchell

Newton Stewart

Dumfries and Galloway