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Credit - Ian Findlay
Credit - Ian Findlay

A song for success – new plans for Ellisland Farmhouse Museum to honour renowned poet, Robert Burns

18 October 2021
Scotland

The Architectural Heritage Fund has awarded a Project Development Grant to Robert Burns Ellisland Trust to advance their plans to revitalise the Category A-listed, Ellisland Farmhouse Museum. Located in Dumfries, the former farm was built by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, in 1788 and is a highly significant place for both the local area and Scotland as a whole.

This project aims to transform the farm steading by upgrading the museum and creating a centre for songwriting, better utilising under-used spaces and the scenic setting. This will not only ensure the long-term care of the collection based within the farmhouse, but will also provide an inspiring opportunity for the Dumfries community to enjoy the arts, creating a more financially secure future for the site.

This grant is one of six awards that the AHF made in the latest grants meeting on Monday 11th October, where projects ranging geographically from Boston, Lincolnshire to Cloughey, Northern Ireland, were offered funding totalling £59,630.

Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, formed specifically to hold the lands and farm of Ellisland, are eager to highlight the work of Burns with this project - whilst living on the farm, he wrote some of his most well-known and loved songs, ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ ‘Banks and Braes’ and ‘Tam O Shanter.’ It is the Trust’s hope that by returning the farmhouse to how it was at the time of the poet’s residence, they will advance the education of arts, heritage and culture, while also promoting his life and works.

More specific plans include turning the threshing barn into an event and educational space themed around music and nature poetry, the milking byre into retail space, and the long byre into a café. The courtyard will be used for performances and guided walks developed within the grounds.

Credit - Ian Findlay
Credit - Ian Findlay

A condition survey funded by Historic Environment Scotland has identified a scheme of repairs across all of the buildings. Thanks to funding provided by the William Grant Foundation, this grant will cover the cost of emergency repairs, helping to buy some time for the buildings while plans are developed for a home for songwriting and the arts, reflecting that of the farm’s origins in music and poetry.