ARTWORKS already draw visitors at the country’s historic sites, now they will also draw donations for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

A late 19th century bust of Robert Burns at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway has been recreated to incorporate 21st century contactless payment technology.

And a replica of the 1766 painting of Colonel William Gordon at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire has also been fitted with a chip to help NTS gather donations to fund its work.

It is hoped that the “Tap the Past to Preserve the Future” initiative, which involves Bank of Scotland and Visa, will raise cash at a time when the volume of traditional cash donations is falling.

NTS chief executive Simon Skinner said: “Like all charities, we face a significant fundraising challenge as cash donations have fallen sharply in recent years. This initiative could not come at a more crucial time and will enable us to accept contactless donations at our sites for the first time.

“It’s only through the support of our visitors, members and donors that our charity can help to protect Scotland’s natural and national treasures, like Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and Fyvie Castle, for everyone to enjoy.

“Working closely with Bank of Scotland and Visa to install these contactless artefacts means even more people can help support all we do, for the love of Scotland.”

Mike Lemberger, head of product and solutions at Visa in Europe, said: “Over half of face to face Visa transactions are now made with a contactless card or payment-enabled device.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to enable people to make contactless payments in places they might not expect.

“Therefore we’re delighted to partner with National Trust for Scotland and Bank of Scotland to provide the charity with a new means of collecting the donations that will allow it to continue to preserve Scotland’s unique heritage.”