Museum in mint condition for Burns Night

One of Edinburgh's star attractions will re-open this weekend following a novel revamp.

The City of Edinburgh Council's Writers’ Museum, which features rare works and artefacts celebrating the lives of three great Scottish writers - Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson – will open its doors in time for Burns’ Night following a month-long refurbishment.

Visitors will once again be able to see the city’s rare collection of writers’ portraits, first edition books and personal belongings including Robert Burns’ writing desk, the printing press on which Scott’s Waverley Novels were first produced, and Robertson's own 'Tusitala' teller of tales ring.

The refurbished museum will also feature Sir Walter Scott material which until now has never been on public display. The writing desk used to pen the famous Waverley novels and his inkwell will be on show in a new gallery dedicated to him.

To celebrate Edinburgh’s continued status as a home of great writing, a new, temporary exhibition and events space has been created within the museum. The area is expected to shine a light for the first time on contemporary writing in the museum with an initial temporary display explaining Edinburgh’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convener, said: "The dedicated exhibition room for Sir Walter Scott will give a fascinating insight into his life and works, while the re-opening of the Museum in time for Burns Night will provide visitors with the ideal way to mark the Bard’s special day.

"The Writers’ Museum celebrates some of Scotland's most revered writers and notable thinkers. Now it will be able to celebrate contemporary and budding writing talent too.”

Gillian Findlay, Senior Curator for the Council's museums, added: “The display of Walter Scott’s original writing desk has been made possible thanks to a generous lender who privately owns this wonderful artefact and the fabulous letters and notes it contains. We are very grateful to be able to display this material publicly for our reopening.”

The flexible space will enable performances, meetings and venue hires to create a hub of writing within the city’s ‘Literature Quarter’ comprising the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Scottish Book Trust (national agency for readership development), Canongate Books and Makars’ Court (commemorating Scottish writers and poets) and the National Library of Scotland.

Reproductions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island map will be available for sale in the museum shop along with other Stevenson, Scott and Burns memorabilia. The relocation and enlargement of the museum’s retail space will allow for a greater emphasis on income generation for the City of Edinburgh Council’s museums service.

The attraction will remain free to visit and will reopen to the public at 10am on Saturday 23 January. Free tours of the venue will be available on Thursdays and Saturdays at 1pm and 3pm.

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