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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 December, 2003, 13:18 GMT
Burns' death skull goes on show
Robert Burns
The collection will be on display in Stirling
A 170 year old cast of the skull of Scots poet Robert Burns is to go on show in the new year.

The so-called death head was made when the bard's grave was opened for the burial of his wife in 1834.

The exhibit will be opened to the public at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling on 16 January.

It is part of a three month programme of events about the legacy of the poet and will include talks and a private collection of Burns memorabilia.

The collection has been built up over 30 years by Glasgow enthusiast Colin Hunter McQueen.

It features souvenir plaques and mementoes, ranging from modern tea towels to 19th century representations of Burns Cottage in brass.

Also on display will be:

  • "Ivorex" plaques made by the Osbornes of Kent 1900-1961

  • Ridgway souvenir pottery

  • a range of whisky

  • beer and wine bottles inspired by Burns over the last 200 years

  • a range of Scottish pottery on a Burns theme

  • and an impression of the poet's own seal.

A spokeswoman for the Smith Museum said: "The collection demonstrates the importance of the legacy of Burns to the ordinary people of Scotland.

"Souvenirs range from door knockers to log boxes, and even a large fireclay garden urn."

The season, to be formally opened by Burns specialist Dr John Cairney, will also feature an exhibition on loan from the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, which has one of the most significant Burns collections in Scotland.

During the exhibition period, various speakers will give talks on different aspects of Burns' life and work.

Further details can be obtained by e-mailing museum@smithartgallery.demon.co.uk.

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