National Museums Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council have agreed the terms of a 25-year Partnership Agreement which will enable the organisations to work together across a number of areas, including future displays of the Galloway Hoard at the newly opened Kirkcudbright Galleries.
As part of the Partnership Agreement Kirkcudbright Galleries will also become a venue for National Museums Scotland’s touring exhibitions from the national collections.
In addition to lending the Hoard itself, National Museums will support the display through loans of relevant additional material from the national collections. The Partnership will also involve National Museums Scotland sharing digital assets (for example 3D scans and digital photography), educational resources, and research outcomes related to the Hoard with the Council.
Following display at the National Museum of Scotland, the Hoard will be seen in an exhibition at Kirkcudbright Galleries where it will be on display for nine months from December 2020 to August 2021. A significant and representative portion of the Hoard will then be displayed long term at Kirkcudbright, with the rest being on display in Edinburgh at the National Museum. The Hoard will subsequently be loaned for a further period when the Scottish galleries at the National Museum of Scotland are redeveloped at a future date.
The Galloway Hoard was discovered in 2014 at a site on Church of Scotland land in Galloway. Following its acquisition by National Museums Scotland in 2017 for the sum of £1.98 million, the Hoard is currently being conserved and researched at the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh.
The Hoard, which brings together the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland, is of international significance and will transform our understanding of this period of Scottish history. Buried at the beginning of the tenth century, it comprises in excess of 100 gold, silver and other items, some of which are unique.
Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland said:
“We are delighted to make this joint announcement with Dumfries and Galloway Council of a 25-year Partnership Agreement. National Museums Scotland is keen to extend access to the national collections to people from across Scotland and beyond and this agreement helps to achieve that ambition.
“We hope that as many people as possible from the local area or visitors to it, will take the opportunity to view the Hoard and enjoy this wonderful collection. We also look forward to Kirkcudbright Galleries being a venue for our touring exhibitions from the national collections.”
Councillor Andy Ferguson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said:
“I am delighted that we have now signed up to the principles of this Agreement with National Museums Scotland. I now look forward to our curatorial staff working closely with staff at National Museums Scotland to bring a fascinating series of exhibitions to Kirkcudbright highlighting the story of the Hoard which will be available to local visitors and beyond over an extended period.”
Councillor John Martin, Vice Chair of Communities Committee said:
“The Agreement is very significant. I would like to thank National Museums Scotland for working with the Council to broker an arrangement which provides both organisations with a very satisfactory outcome. In Dumfries and Galloway we occupy a place on a complex and longstanding network of routes to the centre and North of Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Wales, England and beyond that to the European continent. The Hoard’s varied and far flung points of origin emphasises that we have occupied this position during the last 2 millennia and more. The Mitchell Gallery at Kirkcudbright has been specifically designed to accommodate exhibits such as the Galloway Hoard and I look forward to seeing the Hoard return home to tell part of the story of our cultural heritage”.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said:
“I commend National Museums Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council for reaching a final agreement on the long-term display of items from the Galloway Hoard. This is one of the most important collections ever discovered in Scotland and I am pleased that this agreement will allow for the hoard to be made available for the people of Scotland and our visitors in the years to come.
“The Galloway Hoard opens a window on a significant period in the history of Scotland and shows the important role that our archaeological heritage plays in Scotland’s culture. The Scottish Government has helped to support the acquisition and has worked with all partners involved to support and encourage this partnership agreement to be concluded.
“I also welcome the opportunities that this agreement opens up for other future National Museums Scotland exhibitions at the newly refurbished Kirkcudbright Galleries.”