The Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries, houses a number of historical artefacts connected with, or having belonged to Robert Burns during his time living and working in the town.
Another object has recently been added to the displays – a suitcase or travelling case which is said to have belonged to Burns himself. It has the initials ‘RB’ on the lid. The poet travelled a great deal for his work, to visit his family and friends and also for leisure so a case like this would have been essential to him.
In 2022, conservation work was undertaken on the case. During the course of this work, different experts had cause to look at the case. Their conclusions were that it pre-dated Burns and was probably 17th century. This leads us to speculate – would Robert Burns have used an older case in his travellings? Was it a gift from a benefactor – a hand-me down? Or did it belong to another ‘RB’?
We know that it has been in the museum collection for some time and has always been associated with Robert Burns. Many of the objects within the museum were donated in the 1800s by people who knew Burns personally but records are not always intact. Further research may shed more light on its exact connection with him. ‘We are very pleased to be able to share this precious object with our visitors’ commented Judith Hewitt, Museums Curator.