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Burns cottage reopened
Robert Burns' Cottage was re-opened yesterday following a £1 million renovation of the historic site which features a new Education Pavillion where people can learn more about the National Bard.
The cottage is a key part of the National Trust for Scotland's £21 million Robert Burns Birthplace Museum Project, which is due for completion next year and was the starting point for this year's Homecoming celebrations.
The First Minister re-opened the cottage and announced £2.1 million of additional support for the project, bringing total investment in the project by the Scottish Government to £7.6 million.
Burns Cottage was built in 1757 by Robert Burns' father, William Burnes. Scotland's national bard was born in the Alloway cottage on January 25, 1759. The 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth inspired Scotland's Homecoming 2009 celebrations which conclude on St Andrew's Day.
The opening was part of the FM's programme of activity around the Homcoming finale and St Andrew's Weekend.
The FM said:
"Homecoming 2009 has been a great success story for Scotland. Since its launch on Burns night, it has truly captured the imagination of people throughout the country and across the globe.
"Inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, more than 400 Homecoming events have taken place across the year to celebrate our national bard and also some of Scotland's greatest contributions to the world.
"The re-opening of Burns' Cottage and the opening of the Education Pavilion marks an important step forward in the Robert Burns Museum Project, which aims to celebrate the life and work of Scotland's globally recognised cultural icon.
"I am delighted to announce that the Scottish Government is investing a further GBP2.1 million in the Museum project, bringing our total support to GBP7.6 million.
"It will help to showcase Burns' work to people of all ages and will attract visitors from across the world who share a love and affinity for Burns.
"Burns' universal appeal has been demonstrated through the huge success of Scotland's Homecoming Year. The initiative has delivered a huge boost for Scottish tourism and the economy and I am delighted that an independent interim analysis indicates that Homecoming 2009 is on track to exceed the target of GBP44 million worth of extra tourism revenue.
"Homecoming and St Andrew's events provide a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate Scotland, its people, our history and culture, and the diverse and vibrant nature of our society.
"I would encourage everyone to get involved in the fantastic programme of events taking place and enjoy this special celebration of Scotland."
Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland, Kate Mavor said:
"The cottage where Burns was born is one of Scotland's iconic heritage sites, and the Trust is privileged to have it in its care. Our team of experts in Alloway has restored it in a highly imaginative way to enhance visitors' knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of Burns and his early life.
"The approach we've taken at the cottage gives just a hint of how interactive and inspiring our finished museum will be."