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Robert Burns Birthplace Museum teacher information

The best place to get close to Robert Burns and his genius is his birthplace in the beautiful village of Alloway.

Introduction

Burns Cottage was built by Robert Burns’s father, William Burnes, in the 1750s and it was here that Scotland’s national bard was born in 1759. He lived here until he was seven years old. The cottage has four rooms: the kitchen (which contains the bed in which Burns was born), the spence (where young Robert received lessons from his tutor John Murdoch), the byre (where the family’s animals were stabled) and the barn (where young Robert would help out with the harvest). The cottage is set beside a kailyard, where the family grew vegetables, and looks out towards the original smallholding farmed by the family.

Other Alloway attractions include the auld haunted Kirk and the Brig o’ Doon – both of which feature in Burns’s Tam o’ Shanter. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum has an enormous numbers of artefacts and interactive displays, bringing Burns to life. Burns Monument (built in 1823) is set amid beautiful Victorian gardens and is also well worth a visit.

Burns was a passionate believer in education, and we offer a full programme of formal and informal learning, for all ages and levels.

Make the most of our four dedicated education spaces, our diverse programme of Sandford Award-winning school workshops, family activities and research services – all supported by our expert learning team.

Planning your class visit

  • Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is open for educational visits throughout the school year. Please telephone us on 01292 443700 to arrange your class visit.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Please note that January and February are popular months and book up very quickly.
  • A transport subsidy is available for your visit to Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – please see our School Visits page for more information.
  • Maximum class size: 33, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils
  • Access: The Education Pavilion is fully accessible. Burns Cottage is a heritage site, with some access restrictions. Please call us for more details about the whole site. There’s also further information in the RBBM accessibility guide.
  • Parking: there are spaces for school buses/coaches in both the Burns Cottage car park and the museum car park.
  • Refreshments: The rooms in the Education Pavilion can also be used by pupils during lunchtime for packed lunches. In warm weather, schools can choose to picnic in the gardens.
  • Toilets: Accessible toilets are available at the Education Pavilion and at the museum.
  • All workshops have been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.
Download

Some information for teachers about accessibility at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

During your class visit

  • Upon arrival: please report to the place advised at the time of booking.
  • Trust staff will lead school workshops.
  • For workshops, your class will be divided into two groups for their trip around the cottage and then work in small groups (of up to five) for activities, such as drama and butter churning.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils and teachers are welcome to bring cameras and there are opportunities for taking photographs.
  • Coats and bags can be left in the Education Pavilion during a workshop.
  • Shop: pupils are welcome to visit the shop in small groups and with teacher supervision.

Feedback

From teachers

‘Excellent staff. Very impressive – students were fully involved and participated enthusiastically. The active nature of this session supported all aspects of learning, particularly for those who struggle to focus in class. Thank you!’

‘Very good, meaningful activities. Children’s answers were elaborated on to emphasise teaching points. Use of costumes and props brought history to life for pupils.’

From pupils

‘It was fun and I would love to come back. I want to find out more.’

‘I learned that my life is a lot easier than Robert’s, and I have had a better education.’