Edinburgh lawyer honoured for efforts at National Museum

One of the country's leading legal figures has been honoured for his efforts to transform the National Museum of Scotland over the last decade.

Saturday, 25th March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 25th March 2017, 10:49 am
Bruce Minto has been praised for his work at the National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh lawyer Bruce Minto was hailed for “outstanding leadership in the arts” at the annual Oscars-style ceremony celebrating joint projects between the cultural and business sectors.

Mr Minto has spearheaded fundraising campaigns which have generated more than £20 million for the Chambers Street attraction, which is currently the most popular in Scotland.

He was at honoured at the 30th annual Arts and Business Scotland Awards ceremony at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

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Among the other winners were National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) fundraisers Elly Rothnie and Stella Litchfield, who were praised for their efforts for the company in its first decade.

NTS also picked up the people prize, with whisky giant Diageo, for the best partnership that has “used the power of culture to engage and education local communities”.

Mr Minto, a founding partner of the Edinburgh legal firm Dickson Minto in 1985, was appointed to lead the development board of the museum in 2007 before being appointed chair in 2012.

His tenure has coincided with two multi-million pound overhauls of the museum, which celebrated its 150th anniversary last summer, when 10 new art, design, science and technology galleries were unveiled.

The most recent project, which saw 3000 objects from the museum collection go on display, many for the first time in a generation, helped the museum topple Edinburgh Castle as the country’s busiest attraction, with 1.81 million visitors, up 13.4 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Last week the National Museum of Scotland was named best attraction at VisitScotland’s annual Thistle Awards for the tourism industry.

Mr Minto, who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours in 2015, dedicated his award to the staff and supporters of the museum.

He added: “It is a wonderful organisation, tremendously well led by (director) Gordon Rintoul and his team.

“There are hundreds of people putting in amazing effort, skill, drive, commitment and expertise - the deep knowledge in that organisation is terrific to see.

“I’ll keep going for a wee while longer, I think. The people around me are so inspirational - it’s very hypnotic and enticing to remain part of it as it’s such a great organisation.”

Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency were among the other winners at the event.

Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “When culture and business collaborate they can achieve excellent outcomes.

“Arts and Business Scotland are delivering some fantastic work driving successful partnerships between business and cultural organisations and helping our vibrant cultural sector to thrive.”