The Museum

Start off by watching the short welcome video by Curator Sean McGlashan and then wander through to immerse yourself in Burns’s world.

Listen to his words, handle objects connected to the man, play games that unravel his mysteries, enjoy visual artworks and examine the many books and manuscripts written in his own hand.

Main Exhibition

A self-guided space where you’re free to explore the work, life and legacy of Burns, with interactive games and quizzes for all age levels.

Books and Manuscripts

Of course the exhibition also displays many of Burns’s most iconic works, in both book and manuscript form, complemented by an array audio and visual aids, to help interpret them for today’s visitors.

Among some of our greatest treasures are the Kilmarnock Edition, the annotated Scots Musical Museum, and William Burnes’s Bible which records the date of Burns’s birth.


The exhibition is dotted with iconic artworks, including portraits by Alexander Nasmyth and Archibald Skirving, alongside paintings of Mauchline Holy Fair and David Roberts’ pastoral view of the Burns Monument and Brig o’Doon.

Special Exhibition Space

In the main entrance hall opposite the shop, there’s a space dedicated to showcasing temporary exhibitions, where we unearth special items from our collections alongside historic and contemporary artworks inspired by Burns.

Collectors Items & Burnsiana

There are many fascinating personal items and souvenirs on display too.

See if you can hunt down Burns’s portable writing kit, the cast of his skull, a pair of pistols Burns used in his work as an excise man – and even a lock of the poet’s hair.


Don’t Miss

  • Play some tunes on the Burns Jukebox, learn where he stood on the hot political issues of the day and leave a note on the trysting tree.
  • See just how we’ve built a faithful picture of his facial features, do some forensic foraging into how Burns died and get your own shadow portrait made on site.
  • Every hour the museum bursts into life with an audio visual extravaganza of his poems and songs.
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