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In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ayr, Alloway, Robert Burns Museum

Museum (19-20th Century)

Site Name Ayr, Alloway, Robert Burns Museum

Classification Museum (19-20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Burns National Heritage Park

Canmore ID 201800

Site Number NS31NW 83

NGR NS 33476 18625

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Ayrshire
  • Parish Ayr
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Kyle And Carrick
  • Former County Ayrshire


Archaeological Evaluation (January 2006 - March 2006)

NS 3347 1859

Survey and analysis of the key structures was undertaken within the Burns National Heritage Park (now known as the Burns birthplace: an international museum’) during January to March 2006 in order to develop a strategy for the long-term management of the site. This study, combined with extensive review of historical information for the site and landscape, culminated in the production of a Conservation Plan completed to support an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. An archaeological evaluation was undertaken in the vicinity of the present Tam O’Shanter Experience building. The first stage involved monitoring engineering test excavations to the E and W of the centre, followed by the creation of the existing car park. No archaeologically significant remains were revealed. Much of the N side of the site area had been disturbed by the late 19th-century construction of a railway siding.

An assessment was made of earthworks and other features in the vicinity of Burns Cottage and the fields on its W side. Various field boundary features could be matched to those on early maps, and evidence of rig and furrow cultivation recorded. Selected boundary features were assessed by archaeological evaluation and were found to be primarily of earthen construction. Within the light spared of domestic finds recovered within the field area were individual finds that may date to the period of the Burns family occupation.

A trench across a bank bounding the N side of the site encountered multiple caches of artefacts relating to earlier 20th-century use of Burns Cottage – frames containing photographic images of Burns’ related subjects and a series of Shellyware porcelain models (battleship, tank, kennel, binoculars, barrel, Davey lamp, etc) relating to the 1st World War period and each decorated with a polychrome armorial – ‘Arms for Burns’. Some pieces are also marked ‘Black Watch’.

An analytical appraisal of the standing fabric of Burns Cottage was undertaken in which the extent of the surviving early fabric was assessed, as was the extent of repeated episodes of modification and museum-related reconstruction, most extensive in recent decades. Analysing and historical assessment considerably extending the understanding of the Monument Garden and structures within – Thomas Hamilton’s Burns Monument (1819), the gatehouse and boundary walls, and the Statue House (c 1830).

Report to be lodged with NTS; NMRS

Sponsor: NTS

T Addyman, S Brown, J Austin, T Romankiewicz, C McFarlane, P McGowan, J Rock, and L Ewan 2006

Aerial Photography (1 May 2007)


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