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School workshops

We offer a range of exciting schools' workshops ranging from pre-school up to S5.

Nursery to Primary 1

Tim’rous Beasties

Using storytelling and Scots language, children explore the museum dressed as Burns’s wee tim’rous beasties in order to learn more about his well-loved poem ‘To a Mouse’. This workshop is ideal for building movement and language skills through imagination and performance. 

Curriculum for Excellence: LIT 0–01a/0–11a; LIT 0–20a; LIT 0–07a; LIT 0–16a; ENG 0–17a; EXA 0–14a; EXA 0–08a

Kailyard Capers

Through storytelling and performance, pupils learn all about the animals that would have lived on the Burns family farm, as well as the humans who looked after them. They’ll even get to dress up! This is a great way for young children to develop Scots language and enjoy learning through role play. 

Curriculum for Excellence: SOC 0–04a

Primary 2 to Primary 4

Robert Burns Superstar

Find out what made Robert Burns so famous in this fun and interactive workshop. Pupils learn about the life of Scotland’s most important poet and consolidate their learning by making something special to celebrate Burns. This workshop uses objects from the collection to inspire creativity and artistic skills. 

Curriculum for Excellence: LIT 1–02a; LIT 1–10a; EXA 0–04a/EXA 1–04a

When Burns was a Bairn

Pupils will explore Burns Cottage in order to find out more about the Bard and his family through the objects they used and the chores that they did. They then have a fun competition to make butter using historical methods. This session provides an excellent opportunity to bring together teaching history and technology. 

Curriculum for Excellence: SOC 1–02a; SOC 1–04a; SOC 1–18a

Primary 5 to Primary 7

Hot Potatoes

Using reasoning and debating skills, children explore the museum collection to learn about the provocative issues in Burns’s poetry, including politics and religion. This workshop strengthens public speaking and communication skills. 

Curriculum for Excellence: SOC 2–03a; SOC 1–04a; SOC 2–06a; LIT 2–02a

Being Burns

Using traditional 18th-century costume, pupils explore the Cottage to understand how Robert Burns became a poetic genius in a time before compulsory education. This workshop develops Scots language and brings history to life through the use of re-enactment and drama skills. 

Curriculum for Excellence: SOC 2–03a; EXA 2–01a; HWB 2–19a

Sonsie Scrievers

Find out more about how Burns was inspired by his local environment to write poetry by exploring the Cottage, using different poetry techniques as we go. By the end of the session, everyone will have a poem that they can be proud of! The next Robert Burns may even be in your class. This session is ideal for developing literacy and creativity skills, using the same inspiration as Burns. 

Curriculum for Excellence: LIT 2–26a; ENG 2–31a; SOC 2–03a

Food for Thought

Pupils will explore current environmental issues around food waste and recycling. The sessions will focus on ways of protecting the environment, and will explore Burns Cottage to find out how waste was reduced in the 18th century. This workshop is ideal for pupils to compare the present day with past societies, and develop awareness of current social and environmental issues. 

Curriculum for Excellence: HWB 2–13a; LIT 2–23a; SOC 2–04a; SOC 2–08a

Secondary 1 to Secondary 5

Tam o’ Shanter - rewriting Tam for Today

Experience the story of Tam o’ Shanter through film and then bring the story into the 21st century through dramatic interpretation and analysis of the characters. This workshop develops dramatic analytical and creative writing skills. 

Curriculum for Excellence: SOC 2–02B; ENG 2–31a; EXA 3–12a

Hot Potatoes (advanced)

Students will learn about the provocative issues affecting Burns and how these influenced his thinking, politics and poetry. The session concludes with a lively debate. If you’d like us to focus on a specific Burns poem, please let us know at least 6 weeks in advance. This workshop strengthens analytical, public speaking and communication skills. 

Curriculum for Excellence: SOC 4–02a; SOC 4–04c; LIT 3–06a/LIT 4–06a

Inspired Bard

Pupils will explore the different natural, social and romantic influences which inspired Robert Burns to create his works, facilitated by the setting in which he was born. The session will conclude with the opportunity for pupils to create their own poems. This workshop will give pupils the opportunity to analyse the various influences on Burns and develop creative writing skills. 

Curriculum for Excellence: ENG 3–31a; ENG 3–27a/ENG 4–27a; SOC 3–05a

Pupils with additional support needs and mixed age groups

All our workshops can be adapted to fit the needs of any class and ability. They can also be adapted for school groups with a mixed age range.

Possible themes

  • Poetry
  • Robert Burns
  • Scots language

Resources for schools

Illustrated guidebook for sale


Schools with Trust educational membership enjoy reduced rates.

The following prices are per pupil:

Option 1 (2 x 90 minute sessions per class, full access to RBBM site; lunch facilities): Member £3.50; non-Member £6

Option 2 (1 x 90 minute session per class; full access to RBBM site; guided site tour; lunch facilities): Member £3; non-Member £5

Option 3 (1 x 90 minute session per class; full access to RBBM site; lunch facilities): Member £2; non-Member £4

Extras (including guided site tour, Alloway Auld Kirk, Brig o’ Doon, Burns Monument and Poet’s Path): £1

Accompanying adults (a maximum of six) are admitted free.

Trust Member schools can book an entirely self-led visit to the museum free of charge; self-led visits for non-Members are £2 per child.

Class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.