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St Ninian's Isle Treasure


Should the treasure have a permenant home in the new museum?  

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  1. 1. Should the treasure have a permenant home in the new museum?

    • Yes
    • No

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  • 2 months later...
The Scotsman[/url]"]Pictish work is off to Shetland



A RARE set of Pictish metalwork is to be moved from Edinburgh to Shetland as part of a new initiative by the National Museums of Scotland.

Under the move, the St Ninian's Isle Treasure, which is presently on display at the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street, will be lent to the Shetland Museum and Archives from July to September.


The initiative is part of a four-year deal between NMS and the Shetland Amenity Trust.


It will also see the museum's 17th century Gunnister Man clothing put on show in Shetland in 2009.


:idea: How about, come September, the museum staff make a switch with the replica before returning it to NMS. Hope I haven't let the cat out of the bag.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Quote fae dis week's Shetland Times "Times Past"

Fifty Years Ago: "The contents of the cache have been taken to the British Museum for imediate preservative treatment after which in accordance with the desire of the proprietor of the land in which they were found, it is proposed to deposit them in the Aberdeen University museum for sage custody and exhibition until such time as Shetland has it's own suitable museum."


I don't know what happened between then and now but when the treasure was taken from Shetland the understanding was that it would be returned once Shetland had a suitable museum. Presumably once they learned how significant the find was "The Scots" wanted to keep it to themselves.

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  • 2 months later...

(** merged with existing thread **)




I haven't put a notice on this great site in a while. However one current issue has prompted me to put forward my point of view on a current Shetland debate and discussion - The St Ninians Isles treasure. I find the whole debate fustrating - and also who seems to be debating it. As a Shetlander, I think that the argument to have it based permanently in Shetland is laughable. No doubt there will be those who are more informed than me on this issue and I'd like to see their comments.


But my premise for this argument is as follows:


If we had the treasure based in the Shetland Museum Archives, then this would cost more money. It would cost money to permantly house and secure it within the building, and also to keep is safe. I can see more money having to be spent on a new section within the museum to house it. (a museum by the way that continues NOT to charge people to enter it - where is all this money coming from I ask?) Also, no doubt there would probably be additional insurance cover. What about the security of it?


Then, furthermore, in typical fashion to what we are very used to in Shetland, there would no doubt be 2-3 new posts created at the museum to look after the treasue ie. someone would have to be qualified to take care of it, promote it to the public and also. Again, this would require more cost within Shetland.


On a cost basis alone then, why not just to continue to house the treasure in Edinburgh, but perhaps have it come up here every 2-3 years or so that we can have the opportunity to see it here. On a practical level I also think that we should continue to house it in Edinburgh so that more members of public can get to see it than what they woule otherwise be able to if it was housed up here in Shetland. (unless of course someone can see a drastic reduction in travel to and from Shetland + Shetland Tourism finally getting their act together. Who is going to see the treasure at the end of the day!!!!


Then...here is the ironic, amusing rub. The people who want the treasure up here in Shetland are - I believe - all looking at the short term popularity move, or out for their own ends. It makes them look good - either they are politicians or member of Shetland Heritage clique. (of which you don't necessary have to have a job in by the way to voice an opinion on Shetland Heritage as some of them seem to think!!)


Then, lets take a look down at St Ninians Isle itself - the place where the marvelous treasure was found, and the place which our great Amenity Trust are supposed to mantain. As a tourist recently pointed out to me - there is no cafe, no clear sign posting showing where the treasure was found, no clear sign board showing information on the treasure. If you go you will see that the current information board is all woren and faded with the weather. Forgive me, but doesn't someone from the Amenity Trust get paid to look after these things? If they can't even mantain this - how are they going to manage the treasure!!! :lol: In typical Shetland fashion, there is a lot of work getting something erected but little though provided to mantaining it. So, imagine we even did have the treasure based at the museum in Lerwick - people would still struggle to find where it was first located when they go down the south end!!!


Therefore, if was to be spent to have the treasure here in Shetland - and house it here - would it not be better spent in another way. In other words, its about time that we had a proper St Ninians Isle Visitors Centre with audio visuals etc. giving better and more informed information about one of our Isles greatest discoveries. This could perhaps somehow be linked up to Old Scatness and Jarlshoff. We only need to look to Orkney to see how much better they are at these things than us (new Museum and Arhives excepted) I honestly believe that a centre at St Ninians Isles or the southend - on a par with the Skara Brae Visitor Centre in Orkney - would be money much better spent than on the short termism of having a treasure up here that has done perfectly well so far based in Edinburgh.


Shetland is of course a great place and we deserve the best. But, sometimes I think that we need to be careful about what we wish for and how. What would serve our islands better. Like Mareel, I don't think people think things through enough and just want the here and now.

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I think one of the main problems with the treasure being "based" in Edinburgh is the fact that it's not even on show....it's stored in a "cupboard under the stairs"


neither do I see why, if it was to be based in shetland, there would be any need for more staff to take care of it. They haven't lost any of it while it's been on loan have they?


Security and insurance may be an issue, but would it seriously need any more security than the museum can already offer?

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You've raised some fair points there right away. Perhaps the condition that we as a community should be pushing for then that it should be on show in Edinburgh rather than in a 'cupboard under the stairs'.


It is fair to say that there would not be any additional costs if it were taken to Shetland. However, judging by our past record of 'spend, spend, spend' then I think that it would be a high probability. Within 2 years, I can see the following post being created since I don't think that current staf would have the time to work with the extra demands that it would put on them.


Shetland Museum and Archives: St Ninnians Isles Treasure Co-ordinator.


Moreover, though, the main thrust of my point is still that we should be focussing on other things more pressing to our community in terms of tourism, Heritage promotion etc. Getting the S.I. Treasure should be low down on our list of priorities in my mind.

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Within 2 years, I can see the following post being created since I don't think that current staf would have the time to work with the extra demands that it would put on them.


Shetland Museum and Archives: St Ninnians Isles Treasure Co-ordinator.

Duties will include polishing the display case the Treasure is kept in, making tea, and ensuring the toilets are supplied with bog roll.


Seriously, once a way of displaying the Treasure while keeping it secure has been found, what else would there be to do ?

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