Lighthouse museum in battle for funding

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The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses will close its doors for the winter season for the first time in 16 years this November following a funding cut of 33 percent by Aberdeenshire Council.

As a direct result of the funding cut, the museum’s board has decided to move to seasonal hours, meaning the museum will be shut from November until Easter 2012.

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses was set up in 1995 by the old Grampian Regional Council and Banff & Buchan Councils in partnership with Historic Scotland, and was funded by the two authorities.

Today, the museum receives the majority of its funding from Aberdeenshire Council.

Speaking to the Herald yesterday (Wednesday), museum director, Virginia Mayes-Wright, said: “A funding cut like this means that we can not remain open throughout the year.”

Meanwhile, the level of cut imposed and the lack of certainty about future funding has put into question the viability of the museum’s future operations and visitor facilities in Fraserburgh.

The board is now exploring every avenue to find alternative sources of sustainable funding for the future.

In the absence of this funding the future of the museum is in doubt. The funding cut to the museum and other attractions puts the tourism sector in North East Aberdeenshire into serious doubt.

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses alone encourages a spend of £750,000 directly and indirectly into the Fraserburgh area.

“What is worrying is that we have no idea what the funding situation will look like in a year’s time” said Ms Mayes-Wright.

“We are working as hard as we can at the moment to plan for the future. The board’s decision to close over the winter reflects this commitment to keep the Museum running in the long term.”

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses tells the unique story of the lighthouses set up around the coastline of Scotland, their engineering feats and the stories of the people who manned them.

The Museum is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12am to 5pm.