Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Monymusk Reliquary

I had written to the National Museum of Scotland asking about the possibility of borrowing the Monymusk Reliquary to display in Arbroath on short term loan. The project is moving forward slowly but surely and I have pasted my press releast about it below:

A proposal by Arbroath Councillor Jim Millar to bring one of Scotland's greatest treasures back to Arbroath has taken the next step.

The reliquary, thought to have been made in the 8th century, possibly by Ionian monks has a wooden core with thin alloy sheets and hinged lid, is said to have housed a relic of St Columba who was responsible for bringing Christianity to much of Scotland.

The founder of Arbroath Abbey, King William I, later known as King William the Lion, entrusted the reliquary into the care of the Abbey's monks in 1211 under the condition it was paraded before the Scots army before battle. It was thought this was done most notably before the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Councillor Millar had written to Jane Carmichael of the National Museum of Scotland to enquire if it would be possible to bring the Monymusk Reliquary to Arbroath, preferably in the abbey visitor centre, for a temporary exhibition, and received an encouraging response. Mr Millar then lodged a motion with a meeting of the full council, asking the Council to write to the National Museum of Scotland and Historic Scotland to open negotiations to look at the feasibility of securing a short term loan of the Reliquary.

Commenting, Mr Millar who is a former Manager of Arbroath Abbey said "I am very grateful for the unanimous backing my motion received, and the letters have since been sent. I very much look forward to seeing how this proposal develops. Of course, much depends on satisfying the environmental and security demands of the National Museum, and if the costs of achieving this are too onerous, then it would not be feasible to pursue this, but I remain optimistic."

In conclusion, Mr Millar said "In this day and age, we should not automatically assume that the best place for all of our cultural artifacts is Edinburgh, and I think it is time that the powers that be looked at being proactive in working with other areas throughout Scotland, to make it easier for them to host regionally-important items from the national collection on either a permanent or temporary basis.”

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