One of the most encouraging developments within the wider Burns movement has been increasingly close cooperation between organizations such as museums, libraries, galleries, archives and other bodies which hold the bulk of Burns-related artefacts in Scotland. The umbrella organization which helped to bring this about is ‘Burns Scotland’ which grew out of a project entitled the Distributed National Burns Collections Project. Starting in 2003 the DNBCP carried out a scoping study to assess the current state of the distributed National Burns Collection and identify the best opportunities for effective joint working. The ‘Burns Scotland’ Partnership works to tackle challenges such as improving conservation and documentation of the distributed collection, increasing access for different audiences, and realising the enormous learning potential of collections relating to Robert Burns.
A full report on the scoping study can be found on the ‘Burns Scotland’ website which also provides access to view hundreds of digital images of artefacts held by the disparate organizations.
Mike Duguid, as the Federation’s Literature Committee Convenor, and Bill Dawson, as Editor of the Chronicle, are both members of the ‘Burns Scotland’ Research Sub- Group which promotes cooperation amongst the organizations that hold significant collections. As an example, Mike recently hosted Amy Miller a curator at the RobertBurnsBirthplaceMuseum, Alloway, on a visit to the National Trust for Scotland property Broughton House in Kirkcudbright which houses a significant and substantial collections of works by, and about, the Bard. In the photograph, from the left, are Esther Brouwer (Canada), Rebecca Stapley (Ayr), Anne-Laure Correnson (France) and Amy Miller. Esther and Anne-Laure are both students in their respective countries and are currently on internships at the RBBM and Rebecca is studying the songs of Burns as part of her course at the University of West of Scotland. As well as obtaining an valuable insight into the Burns collection amassed by artist Edward Atkinson Hornel the visitors also had an opportunity to appreciate some of his art work such as his Memories of Mandalay in the background.