Friday 31 May 2024

National Trust for Scotland new Burns Archive upclose


Over 2,500 historic items from our internationally important collections at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum are now available to explore from anywhere in the world.


NTS have launched a new portal that gives unprecedented access to manuscripts, archives and artefacts, including over 1,000 items that are held in store for their long-term preservation and protection.

Thanks to funding from a member of our Patrons’ Club and the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, anyone with an interest in Burns from across the world can now visit our website and engage with Burns artefacts as never before.

With the ability to zoom in on high-resolution images to see full details on manuscripts and objects that would usually be displayed behind glass, the online collection allows users to experience Burns up close and personal – from previously undisplayed handwritten manuscripts by Robert Burns, to sharing the recently acquired items from the Blavatnik Honresfield Library, alongside photographs, letters, objects and wider archival material.

The collection is organised under four categories:

  • Burns the man
  • Myths and folklore
  • Relationships
  • Memorialisation and legacy

Highlights include a fragment of one of only six known manuscripts of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ dating from 1793; Jean Armour’s wedding ring; a lock of Highland Mary’s hair; and Burns’s blue woollen initialled socks. There are also many manuscripts that have not previously been on display, including ‘Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots’, ‘On The Approach of Spring’, ‘Scots Wha Hae’ and an unbound, uncut copy of the Kilmarnock Edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect




Susie Hillhouse, Head of Collections at the National Trust for Scotland, said: ‘We are excited to be bringing our incredible Robert Burns Collection to people across the world through this online platform. This project, which has been in the works for over 12 months, will allow people to engage with items in the collections like never before. We’re currently only able to show a proportion of these items at our award-winning Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. Now, anyone will be able to search the collections, and zoom in to tiny details and experience the full collection of over 2,500 items, 24/7, from anywhere in the world.’