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The second feature highlighting partners of the DNBC focuses upon Dumfries.

Burns obviously had close links with the area and after his death in 1796 the esteem with which he is held in Dumfries has only risen. Dumfries itself has been described as a ‘living museum to Burns’. Being based at Dumfries Museum also gives me access to these wonderful surroundings and heritage which the area is steeped in.

These fantastic images of Dumfries Museum, Burns House, and the Robert Burns Centre were all done by the very talented illustrator Clare Melinsky.

The slideshow below is one example of recent efforts to digitise the collections held within the partnership of the National Burns Collection. These Burnsiana postcards had previously been lying dormant. It is hoped that by providing access to the incredibly rich resources of the NBC the legacy of Burns can continue to grow. The postcards themselves represent a unique insight into how appreciative the people of Dumfries are when it comes to celebrating Scotland’s National Bard.

Take a look at some of the amazing images of Burns collected over the years at Dumfries Museum!

Find out more about the origins of Burns associatin with Dumfries by reading exercpts of ‘Celebrating the Legend’ by David Lockwood below:

First Contact

Robert Burns’ first contact with Dumfries and Galloway came in 1787 during a short tour of the Borders with his friend Bob Ainslie, a law student. Following the success of the Kilmarnock edition of his poems he found himself acclaimed as ‘Caledonia’s Bard’ by Edinburgh Society. The 3000 copies of the new Edinburgh edition were selling well and his fame had been further increased by an article about him in the ‘Lounger’, a weekly magazine. He arrived in Dumfries from Carlisle on 4th June. Dumfries Town Council immediately made him an honorary burgess, little knowing that one day he would come here to live. The main reason for his visit was to look at a farm offered to him by Patrick Miller, a director of the Bank of Scotland and chairman of the Carron Company in Falkirk. Miller, an admirer of Burns, had recently purchased the estate of Dalswinton, 6 miles north of Dumfries. He offered him the tenancy of one of the farms, Ellisland, on the banks of the Nith, at an advantageous rent:- seventy pounds a year restricted to £50 for the first three years. Burns had always been doubtful of earning his living by his pen and was looking for another means but when he saw the farm he was not impressed and was worried that the ‘bargain’ might ruin him. In March 1788, despite his misgivings, he signed the lease. Shortly before, however, he had written to Robert Graham of Fintry, a Commissioner of the Scottish Board of Excise, that he “wished to get into the Excise”. Graham, another admirer, used his influence and arranged for Burns to receive a position in the Dumfries area as soon as one became available.