Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast visited Peterhead’s Arbuthnot Museum recently to hear about its achievements and challenges.
Mr Stevenson was there as part of a series of MSP visits proposed by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), to engage them in championing their local museums and galleries.
He was joined on his visit by Morag Macpherson, head of research at MGS and councillor Isobel Davidson who is also the chair of education, learning and leisure.
While they were there, they were shown the museum’s Shivas Collection – digitised copies of 800 glass plate negatives once owned by James Shivas of Peterhead.
The photos, dating from around 1870 to the early 20th century, capture Peterhead and the surrounding area and many were taken by James himself.
The visit also included a discussion about aspirations and future plans for the museum.
Local museums like the Arbuthnot are very important because they tell the town about the town and every town is different.Stewart Stevenson MSP
Mr Stevenson said: “Our local museums play a tremendously important role as the custodians of our civic heritage, but should also be places of fun and learning where younger generations engage with their history.
“I’ve heard some very good reports about engagement and outreach work carried out by the local museums service; Mr Arbuthnot’s Cabinet of Curiosities comes to mind as a recent example. At the same time, we should never lose sight of the importance of collections such as the Shivas photographic plates as a link with the past.”
Cllr Davidson added: “We are going to bring some younger children in and they can chat about the future and the past, and how they merge together and the changes there have been over a lifetime.”
Morag Macpherson explained: “In addition to delivering strategic development support to a sector of over 450 museums and galleries, MGS is committed to raising the profile of these valuable organisations amongst stakeholders and opinion formers.
“It has never been more important for museums and galleries to showcase how they’re delivering agendas in a cost-effective, convincing and comprehensive manner.”