Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Rare Burns book found at museum

A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs
The book contains Burns' handwriting in the flyleaf

A rare book which belonged to Robert Burns has been discovered at a museum in South Ayrshire.

The copy of "A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs", which was co-edited by the poet, was found at the Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.

Burns gave the book - which prominently features his handwriting - as a gift to his boss's daughter.

It came to light as books and artefacts at the museum were being cleared for preservation and restoration treatment.

The current Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is closing to pave the way for a £21m development, taking in surrounding Burns' attractions.

The new facilities will open in summer 2010.

Museum curator David Hopes described the book as a "hidden treasure".

Rare find

"Burns gave the book to Miss Graham of Fintry, the daughter of Burns's boss, who was influential in the excise commission," he said.

"It is a rare find and we will now see that it takes pride of place in the new museum.

"The book is a hidden treasure and had not been catalogued, although the inscription has been published before.

"We are delighted with the find and especially pleased to see that it features Burns's handwriting in the flyleaf."

The book will go on display when the new museum opens next year.

In the meantime, Rozelle House will continue to host an exhibition featuring collections from Burns Cottage Museum.

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