Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Does Glasgow need a 'Super Museum'?

We've had some posts lately about the highs and lows of Scotland's military museums. Of special concern are those still run by the MoD and attached to regimental headquarters. With cuts across government departments a priority for this coalition the Ministry of Defence may see regimental museums as an expense too far; especially those museums with few folk coming through the door.

When the government had to reform the army they often resorted to amalgamation. In 1881, 1957, 1961 and 1994 Scottish regiments merged to form larger entities. It was taken to its logical conclusion in 2006 with the creation of the 'super' Royal Regiment of Scotland (something actually touted in 1968 by Douglas Hurd, but in a novel and not as a politician, in his book "Scotch on the Rocks")

So here is a radical solution to the museums' problems - amalgamate them. Why not have a 'super museum' to match the 'super regiment'.

I'm not suggesting we have one combined regimental museum to cover all the Scottish Infantry regiments but perhaps the regiments who traditionally recruited in the West of Scotland could come together in a new purpose-built facility in Glasgow. If we think of the old Strathclyde Region it had four famous Scottish Infantry Regiments recruiting in that area. The Royal Scots Fusiliers in Ayrshire, The Cameronians in Lanarkshire, the Highland Light Infantry in Glasgow and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Argyll, Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.

If we add in the Ayrshire Yeomanry, Glasgow Yeomanry and Lanarkshire Yeomanry too, and the Territorial artillery, engineers, medical and transport units based in the area then that is a lot of units and a lot of service. In fact why not go the whole hog and add in Glasgow's own RAF squadron - 602 Squadron RAFVR. And if they are in why not the local Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve too.

So there's my suggestion - a great big Lottery funded museum supported by all the local authorities around Glasgow donating some funds and their 'war' holdings alongside the regimental material to showcase Glasgow and the West of Scotland's proud military, naval and aviation history. A Strathclyde War Museum no less.

Ok, this is just wild pie-in-the-sky thinking but what is the alternative for some of our museums if the MoD pulls the plug? Going back to the army's own solution if amalgamation isn't possible; it is suspended animation or worse, disbandment.

1 comment:

  1. A better idea than what is available at present. No weekend access when people are free and have the time to wander about at some museums is not very visitor friendly.