The Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum have been awarded the massive sum of £1,884.59 by the CO-OP Community Fund for a Spinning Wheel Project. This brings some joy on the very day the museum must close again for three weeks during the current pandemic.
The amount given has been generated from the 1% earned by members buying selected CO-OP branded goods and services locally in Doonfoot and Ayr. The Project was chosen as one of this year’s causes and the Friends of RBBM gratefully appreciate this generous support.
With spinning wheels purchased by the scheme, volunteers will now be able to learn the skills of using them. Then they’ll demonstrate the techniques to visitors to Burns Cottage and the museum nearby in Alloway. Imagine them sitting in Burns Cottage showing what Robert Burns’ mother Agnes used to do on a daily basis in that very house. After this, the group aim to roll out workshops with spinning and weaving activities to involve children and families and, later, local community and disability groups.
During the next few months volunteers will work away at home practising a heritage craft familiar to nearly every woman at the time of Robert Burns. A contemporary described Burns wearing a coat spun by his mother “aye, and dyed by her too, l se‘ll warrant.”
Last year, an interpretation programme at the Cottage included dyeing with locally growing plants, rag-rug making, weaving and rope-making. Not to forget the popular oat bannock making! So spinning will be an extension to the drive to make Burns Cottage a lively place to come to.