Volunteers are planning new workshops to add to their repertoire of activities to bring Burns Cottage alive. These include showing how plants growing in the vicinity would have been used for healing purposes and also for beauty treatments. Regular story telling sessions will be introduced to echo the experience of the young Robert Burns at the knee of Betty Davidson, an old woman relative who stayed with the family and had a vast store of spooky stories. Soon volunteers hope to embark on learning to spin using equipment provided through the local CO-OP’s community support scheme. Meanwhile, pop into the Education Pavilion at Burns Cottage on Monday afternoons to see a rag rug being made and find out more.
For a number of reasons beyond our control, the much loved buggy service which has been running for some 7 years, has to be discontinued.
An exciting new initiative is “The Friends and Volunteers information Hub” situated behind the Admissions desk at the main entrance. The original idea was to provide much needed help and information for visitors and volunteers to the museum, and particularly those with limited access to the internet. We are also linking up with Visit Scotland and their new “I Know” programme which highlights all that is good in the wider community, as well as RBBM, so why not come along and check it out.
Roger Alexander and John Rattenbury
In the summer of 1801 a select party of the friends of Robert Burns proposed
to dine in the cottage of his birth, and to offer a tribute to the memory of
This first known Burns Supper was held in the cottage in July 1801 on the
fifth anniversary of the death of Robert Burns. It was agreed that the event
should take place annually on the date of birth of the poet. The suppers
were held in the cottage until 1809 after which the venue moved to the Kings
Arms Hotel in Ayr.
The Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum reintroduced the Supper to the
cottage on 25th January 2016 and continue to do so, always endeavouring to
have a direct descendent of Robert Burns present.
We have 24 guests, each paying £250, and through kind sponsorships, mainly
from NTS, the 2020 Supper has raised £7,000 which has been donated to the
We regard this as the world’s foremost Burns Supper, in the cottage of his
birth and on his birthdate. We have had guests from the USA in the west to
Germany in the east.
At 12.30 today, we had the draw for the Burns Monument Raffle. There were two prizes in the form of works of art that were donated by William Hillen, a local artist who has donated a great number of works of art for charity.
Hugh Farrell, Chairman of the Friends of RBBM invited the first person to enter the museum after 12.25, to draw the winning tickets. This was Robert Wisecup who was on holiday from Georgia, USA, and whose birthday matches that of Robert Burns.
The winners were John Rattenbury of Ayr who chose the very atmospheric picture of Burns Cottage and John McCormick of Stonehouse, Lanarkshire who took the oil painting of Burns Monument.
The raffle has made a valuable contribution to the Burns Monument Refurbishment fund, and our thanks go to William for his generous donation of the pictures, and of course, to all who bought raffle tickets.
After an extraordinary year, our High Street gift shop has been closed. We opened it as a pop-up shop at the end of August 2014, for the sale of Robert Burns related National Trust for Scotland stock and a dazzling array of crafts from our talented Ayrshire crafters. It was unique on the High Street, and with almost 50 crafters displaying their carefully created wares, there was lots for visitors and residents of Ayr to choose from. It was staffed by a wonderfully dedicated team of volunteers, who painted, managed, staffed and maintained the shop as one of the most attractive in town.
Why close it? Well, it actually stayed open longer than was intended, and there were a whole range of reasons why it was time to bring the project to a close. So many thanks to our volunteers, the many staff from Robert Burns Museum who gave so much help, support and guidance, and of course to the many customers who visited the shop and made it a success.