Public appointment: member appointments extended on the Board of National Museums Scotland (NMS)

Public appointments news release.

The Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development and Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine, Mr Gray, today announced the extension to the appointments of Dr Brian Lang and Dr Catriona MacDonald as members of the Board of National Museums Scotland (NMS).


Dr Brian Lang began his career as a social anthropologist, carrying out field research in Kenya and then lecturing for some years at Aarhus University, Denmark. Returning to the UK, he held a number of senior posts in conservation and heritage, including the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and the National Trust before a period as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the British Library from 1991 to 2000. Brian was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews in 2001 and served for eight years. He was Deputy Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Chair of its committee for Scotland, from 2005 to 2011. He was Chair of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra from 2008 to 2015. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was awarded a CBE in the 2016 Birthday Honours List for services to the Arts, Heritage and Education.

Dr Catriona MacDonald is a graduate of St Andrews, Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt universities, and is Reader in Late Modern Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. She is a former editor of the Scottish Historical Review, Director of the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies at the University of Glasgow, and President of the Scottish History Society. Her research interests focus on the socio-political and cultural history of modern Scotland.


The extensions will be for seven months and will run from 1 September 2022 until 31 March 2023.

The extensions are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


The extensions are part-time with an average time commitment of 9-12 days per year. Appointments to the Board of National Museums Scotland are not remunerated.

Other ministerial appointments

Dr Brian Lang and Dr Catriona MacDonald do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Dr Brian Lang and Dr Catriona MacDonald have had no political activity within the last five years.


National Museums Scotland (NMS) is one of the leading museums groups in Europe. It cares for a multi-disciplinary collection of over 12 million objects, bringing together the arts and sciences, and the cultures of Scotland and the world, alongside the diversity of the natural world. The organisation has approximately 460 staff across five sites and receives around £25 million of Scottish Government funding annually. NMS is also a Scottish Charity (no. SC 011130).

NMS’ key priorities reflect its statutory duties to care for the items it holds, and to make them accessible through providing education, encouraging research, and promoting public awareness. Its four museums (the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street in Edinburgh, the National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian and the National Museum of Rural Life near East Kilbride) are enjoyed by local and international visitors and received over 3 million visits in the year before Covid-19.

As a national centre of excellence, the organisation is committed to widening access to and participation with its collections, reaching out across Scotland, the UK and internationally. This includes an extensive programme of: touring exhibitions; loans; community-based partnership projects, often within disadvantaged areas; training and skills development, including developing young people; the provision of advice and support to the museum sector; administering the National Fund for Acquisitions; and operating the Treasure Trove scheme. National Museums Scotland is hugely proud of the impact it has on people’s lives through sharing the fascinating stories of the millions of remarkable objects it cares for in Scotland’s National Collection.

NMS operates within the context of the Scottish Government’s national outcomes and strategic objectives. As with all public bodies it also operates within a challenging financial climate and must make the most of opportunities to continue to collaborate with other key national and international organisations from a range of sectors and to generate income from a range or sources.

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