Friday, 31 October 2008
Ayrshire’s new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is one step closer
THERE is more to celebrate than Halloween in Ayrshire today when the Robert Burns birthplace cottage, other heritage assets and all the land where they are located, are donated to the National Trust for Scotland.
This milestone enables the conservation charity to begin work to create the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which is due for completion in 2010.
[Artist's impression of the planned Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.]
The cottage, an irreplaceable collection of artefacts and original manuscripts, and other assets including the iconic Burns monument, are being generously donated by the Burns Monument Trust.
The land and the Tam O’Shanter Experience is valued at £2.8 million and is South Ayrshire Council’s considerable contribution to the National Trust for Scotland’s ambitious £21 million Burns project.
These newly acquired assets will now form the core of plans to develop the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
National Trust for Scotland chairman Shonaig Macpherson said: “The Trust is thrilled to accept this very generous donation of land and property from both the Burns Monument Trust and South Ayrshire Council, which will allow us to progress our plans for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
“We are confident that the new museum will attract people from across the globe as well as from Scotland to Alloway, helping to boost tourism locally and to promote the many other benefits of a visit to South Ayrshire. The fans of Robert Burns will undoubtedly be grateful to the Burns Monument Trust and South Ayrshire Council for their role in bringing the new museum into being.
“We are grateful to the many people who have played a part in enabling this transfer to take place. This enables us to begin the next phase of our fundraising activities to deliver the new museum. We look forward to achieving our ambitious vision in Alloway and creating the Museum and welcoming the thousands of visitors who flock there every year to learn more about one of our most iconic writers.”
South Ayrshire Council Leader Hugh Hunter said: “Over the last few years, we have worked closely with the National Trust for Scotland to progress these plans and it has been a very positive working experience.
“I have absolute confidence that the Trust will make this museum one of the UK’s most culturally significant and impressive visitor destinations, celebrating the life and times of one of the world’s most influential cultural and literary figures.
“I am delighted we have played a pivotal role in helping develop something truly extraordinary that will, for generations to come, be inspiring and educational, as well as attracting people from across the globe.
“South Ayrshire Council is committed to continuing our positive working relationship with the Trust to make these fabulous plans into a world class facility.
“Tourism is one of the largest income generators for this area and Burns is going to be a major factor in influencing how we market and promote South Ayrshire in the future.”
The chairman of the Burns Monument Trust, the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, Mr John L Duncan, QPM, said: “Today marks the end of almost 200 years of work. The Burns Monument Trust has, since its inception in 1814, shouldered the responsibility of preserving the heritage of Burns and building the finest collection of Burns documents and artefacts in the world.
“It is thanks to early trustees’ work that today we, the current trustees of the Monument Trust, are able to pass that responsibility over to the National Trust for Scotland. No safer hands could be found. We are confident that everything that the Burns Monument Trust has preserved, built up and cared for over many years is secure.”
Ayr MSP John Scott has welcomed the progress made this week towards the creation of a £21m Robert Burns Birthplace Museum at Alloway, which has seen the transfer this week of the Tam o’ Shanter Experience, Burns Cottage, its artefacts and original manuscripts to the National Trust for Scotland.
John Scott said: “The transfer of these assets from South Ayrshire Council and the Burns Monument Trust to the National Trust for Scotland paves the way for the creation of what will be an ambitious and exciting new museum.
“The preservation of the Burns legacy and its promotion as one of our principle tourist attractions is vital and congratulations are due to all involved in driving the project forward to this stage.”
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