New Initiative for Robert Burns Visitors

Wednesday, 20 March 2024 14:32

There will be opportunities to step inside the Robert Burns mausoleum throughout the summer in a new initiative by Dumfries and Galloway Council museums. From April to September, museum attendants from Burns House in Dumfries will be at the mausoleum in St Michael’s kirkyard at 11.15am and 2.15pm from Mondays to Saturdays to let visitors visit the interior of this memorial.

Though Burns was a famous poet and songwriter, he was buried in a simple grave in St Michael’s churchyard in 1796, which visitors struggled to find. The Bard’s close friend John Syme organised a committee to build a mausoleum that they felt would be more fitting for Burns’ legacy. Friends and admirers of his work gave donations to fund this grand building where Burns was reburied in 1815. The white structure with its green copper dome now stands out clearly among the many elaborate sandstone memorials in the churchyard.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council's Communities Committee, said: “Schools and tour groups are often shown into the mausoleum by the museums team, but we’re very pleased to be able to offer these regular opportunities for more people to step inside this memorial where they can experience more of Dumfries’ rich heritage connected to Burns.”

Vice Chair of Communities Committee,Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “There are lots of fascinating stories around Burns’ funeral, the mausoleum and the wider churchyard. The museum team is passionate about this history and are looking forward to sharing this with more visitors throughout the summer.”

The outside of the mausoleum can be viewed at any time and there is an information panel telling its story. Robert Burns House where the poet spent the last years of his life and where he died is just a short walk away. The house has displays of original manuscripts and artefacts that belonged to Burns. The house and mausoleum are both free to visit.