Calls for a 12-month reprieve for an at-risk New Abbey museum have been rejected.
The chairman of the board of National Museums Scotland (NMS) announced on Monday that the final decision on the future of the Shambellie House facility will be revealed in February.
Business groups, cross-party politicians and the council had appealed to NMS head Dr Gordon Rintoul for 12 months’ “breathing space” to discuss income-boosting tactics for the National Museum of Costume.
They hoped to be granted the stay of execution following a board meeting on Friday, but were left “disappointed” by the announcement that the decision would come at the next meeting in February, which NMS say will allow for “further stakeholder consultation”.
South of Scotland Labour MSP Claudia Beamish, who held a member’s debate on the future of the museum in Holyrood last week, said: “There was consensus from MSPs that a 12-month extension was required, and I am disappointed that NMS has limited this to three months.
“If the National Museums of Scotland want to be taken seriously as a truly national organisation, then it is unthinkable that they would close one of their few museums outside the central belt.”
SNP MSP for the south of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod added: “I know that the board has made this decision with the stated intention of consulting local stakeholders before making a final decision.
“This means the fight for Shambellie continues.”
The museum was earmarked for closure by the government-funded body because of low visitor numbers and high running costs.
Abbey ward councillor Tom McAughtrie said an invitation for councillors to meet Dr Rintoul next month offered hope that the facility could still be saved.
He said: “I’m still hopeful because he is the guy with the real power to decide.”
An NMS spokesperson added: “The board believes that postponing the decision for up to a year, as some have suggested, would prolong uncertainty for both the region and our staff.
“The period between now and February is adequate to explore all relevant options and proposals for access to the national collections through other means.”