Council Lays Out Viking Hoard Position

Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee met on Tuesday 24 January, and discussed the latest position in relation to the Galloway Viking Hoard.

Our Council has been in regular correspondence with National Museum Scotland (NMS) in a bid to secure a suitable position in terms of housing the Hoard once the valuation process is complete. At a committee meeting in July 2015, members heard that a hoard had been discovered by a metal detectoristin the Galloway area of the region.

Throughout the last year, Councillors have been regularly updated on how talks have been progressing with the National Museum of Scotland, and other stakeholders. Kirkcudbright Common Good agreed to fund £100k to kick-start a public appeal by our Council to acquire the Hoard on a full time basis.
Following recent correspondence with the NMS there is still some ambiguity over how a partnership agreement will work between our Council and the NMS. In particular, discussions are still taking place as to how much of the Hoard will appear in the new Kirkcudbright Gallery at any one time, and which party will be responsible for the couriering and transportation of the Hoard if and when it does move locations. Members also heard that earlier this month, the Director of Communities, Derek Crichton, wrote to NMS to gain clarity on our proposal of a joint title of the Hoard. When Members met on 24 January, no reply had been received at that point from the National Museum.
In order to find a way forward, our Council has conducted a detailed options appraisal. This appraisal highlighted 3 main options that our Council could take. We could apply for sole ownership of the Hoard, we could enter into a joint agreement with NMS, or we could withdraw our interest in homing the Hoard. This appraisal provided many positive and negative reasons why each option should be explored, but mainly highlighted that the Hoard needs to have some connection with Kirkcudbright and the region, and that applying for sole ownership would bring serious financial pressures with it. It was therefore decided by Members at the meeting on 24 January to pursue a joint agreement with NMS, but for adjustments to be made to the current proposal, to give Kirkcudbright Gallery and Dumfries and Galloway as a whole, a more flexible position in terms of a joint ownership of the Galloway Viking Hoard.
Councillors also agreed to pursue a lobbying campaign to achieve the delivery of a partnership agreement between our Council and the National Museum for Scotland. This campaign will clearly set out our Council’s aspirations in terms of what we expect from such a partnership arrangement.
A report containing final considerations for a way forward in relation to the Hoard will be heard at the next Communities committee meeting on 7 March this year.
Communities Committee Chairman, Councillor Tom McAughtrie said;
As an Administration we have always been committed to delivering a top quality art gallery in Kirkcudbright, and have funded this project accordingly. Part of this project contains a secure area that would be able to host such a collection as the Galloway Viking Hoard. Members have received excellent advice from Council officers in relation to how we should proceed, and we’re doing all we can to work with the National Museum to secure a joint ownership of this Hoard. We’ve always maintained that the Hoard was found in Galloway, so it should remain in Galloway. A partnership agreement would allow this to happen, but we’re still in negotiations with our colleagues from NMS to reach a deal that’s of utmost benefit to our Council, and to the people of Kirkcudbright.
This Hoard will bring in thousands of visitors each year to the region, so it is vital we do all we can to secure some sort of hold on the Hoard. We will start a lobbying campaign of local MSP’s in a bid to secure their support for bringing the Hoard home, in partnership with NMS. I look forward to receiving the final considerations report at the March meeting of Communities Committee.”

Images Copyright- Sam Kelly

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