National Museum of Costume. Copyright: National Museums Scotland

National Museum of Costume closes

Patrick Steel, 04.02.2013
National Museums Scotland to save £220,000 a year
National Museums Scotland (NMS) announced today that it will close the National Museum of Costume at Shambellie House, Dumfries.

Gordon Rintoul, NMS director, said: "The difficult decision to close the National Museum of Costume has been taken after extensive consideration of all other options across National Museums.

"The low number of visitors to the site along with the high operational costs is simply not sustainable. In addition, the domestic layout of Shambellie House places limitations on it being used effectively as a national museum."

But Russell Brown, MP for Dumfries and Galloway, said: "This news will come as no surprise to many people and is particularly devastating for the people employed at Shambellie, at a time our region already faces an employment crisis.

"Although NMS has gone through a token consultation exercise over the past few weeks, it was clear that unless the Scottish government intervened, Shambellie would close.

"The question they [the Scottish government] will now need to answer is what do they now plan to do to support the tourism industry that will be reeling from this closure."

The museum attracts 10,000 visitors each year, and costs £220,000 per year to run. Currently closed for the winter, it will not re-open for the spring season.


The piece was updated to include a quote from Russell Brown.


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MA Member
07.02.2013, 12:57
This is a very sad state of affairs. I hope that the collection will be maintained in the interim should the closure go ahead and an alternative display venue be found for parts for such a significant and comprehensive collection like this. A travesty.
07.02.2013, 12:55
Why not join forces with Dumfries House ? To the benefit of Scotland NT and the museum staff ??
As to consultation time regarding all these issues: WHY is it always a SHORT consultation time and WHY is it always publicised in such underhand ways ???? Just so that the right boxes can be ticked in the procedure list.
Yes, life is hard for all museums but surely we do wish to KEEP them - somehow!
MA Member
07.02.2013, 13:44
Em, Dumfries House is not a National Trust for Scotland property, it's also not in Dumfries-it's about 50 miles from the National Museum of Scotland. But yes, hopefully some alternative can be found.