A Winter of Photography

As we move on to our winter opening times on 1 October, we thought it would be a good time to have a look at our upcoming exhibition programme for the next few months, which will be dominated by different types of photography.  You have about 1 week left to see our summer blockbuster John Muir:Writer, which finishes on Wednesday 9 October.  This will be replaced by some beautiful photographs by local photographer,  Fraser Stewart. Fraser says of his work:

This exhibition is a range of my photographic work of the many facets of Dunbar. It is a study of the diverse communities within a small coastal town. Dunbar is surrounded by beautiful nature and is a joy to explore and live in. Yet it is the people who provide the dynamic of the town, creating employment, starting up organisations and social groups. This exhibition captures all aspects of this unique community.

This will be followed by the John Muir Trust category winners from the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.  This will be the 3rd year we have exhibited winners from this category, and the images are always breath-taking. this year the John Muir Trust prize was given the theme of ‘Living Landscape’, one of the prizewinners being Ian Biggs with ‘Autumn Frost’.


Finally from 18 December we will be exhibiting the 12 winners from the Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery ‘My Dunbar’ Calendar competition.  Anyone was able to submit a photograph of Dunbar, and the winners were chosen by who had the most ‘likes’ on the Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery Facebook page. The result has been a beautiful calendar of Dunbar through the eyes of the people who live, work and play here. Calendars will be available for sale from the first weekend in October – reserve yours for only £6.00.

The winning photo on the front of the calendar is Jamie McAlpine’s ‘Sky Over Belhaven’



New John Muir Way Passports

The perfect way to mark your progress from coast to coast, the John Muir Way official passport is also your ticket to exclusive offers along the route. John Muir’s Birthplace is delighted to sell and stamp passports.  Holders will also receive a 10% discount in our shop!

Stamping Stations logo

Show it off, frame it, or keep it under your pillow! However you choose to celebrate, the John Muir Way passport records your achievement in completing the 10 sections between Helensburgh and Dunbar.

Whether you’re doing the route in one go or tackling one section at a time, be sure to have your passport stamped to mark your progress. When you’ve collected all ten stamps, you can claim your free completer certificate

There are ‘stamping stations’ dotted along the route in all sorts of places, from paddle steamers to pubs and castles to cafes. Look out for the STAMPING STATION logo at venues in each section.

> Check the map for stamping locations


Buying the passport

Passport foldout

The passport costs just £5 and you’ll find it for sale at both ends of the route and in other hubs along the way.

When you buy a passport, you’ll not only have a great souvenir and access to offers; you’ll also have that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing you’re helping to sustain the John Muir Way for others to enjoy!

> Check the map for passport retailers


Need a little help to get you over the finish line?

Business welcomes

John Muir Way have teamed up with businesses along the route to offer passport holders a little extra something to help you on your journey.

Your passport will unlock exclusive offers and discounts at participating businesses and attractions. From complimentary coffee to preferential prices, it all helps when you’re crossing an entire country under your own steam.

Look out for the PASSPORTS WELCOME logo and be sure to show off your passport in-store to find out what’s on offer.

Summer Holiday Activities

Now that the summer holiday are upon us, take the opportunity for some free family time exploring the life of John Muir.  Our exhibition for the summer is John Muir, Writer. We look at his books, journals and letters, many of which were gathered together following John’s death in 1914 and published in several different volumes.  There are also drop in crafts for children – create your own journal to keep to record your summer holiday adventures! Combine this with a walk long the cliff top trail in Dunbar, the first part of the John Muir Way for a fantastic, free day out.

If you fancy being child-free for a morning, book them into our summer activity on 25 July, 10am -1pm. Only £12.15 for 3 hours of fun finding out about John’s writing and thinking about how John might have campaigned differently today! Call us on 01368 865899, email or pop in to book.

Come and make music!

We thought you’d like to see a taster of Junkman who will be coming to Dunbar for the end of Civic Week, 21  – 23 June!  Call us on 01368 865899 to book your space – prices start from just £3!

We’re in the Hall of Fame!

We are delighted to have been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the 5th Year in a row, and as a result we have been entered into their Hall of Fame! Why not make us part of your next visit to east Lothian and find out why our visitors rate us so highly!

Junk Music

For Dunbar Civic Week, John Muir’s Birthplace and Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery are delighted to present JunkMusic (sponsored by the Dunmuir Hotel), played by JunkMan – Donald Knaack from Friday 21 – Sunday 23 June.

The Junkman™, percussionist/composer, and environmentalist Donald Knaack is the original recycled materials percussionist. He’s the Daddy of Eco-Beat, following in the footsteps of his mentor and collaborator, John Cage, by creating music and cutting-edge environmental awareness that transcends all styles and genres. His much-acclaimed concerts and interactive Junkjams™ impart timely messages regarding the health of Mother Earth, cultural tolerance, and how our personal behaviour affects other people’s personal space and rights.

In his music, The Junkman™ fuses the avant-garde with head-moving ear candy, and rhythmic muscle to form an irresistible edutainment experience!


Over the course of Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday, there will be a combination of Concerts, Workshops and Make and Take sessions led by JunkMan, aimed at both individuals and families. Numbers for each session will be limited and can be booked in advance through John Muir’s Birthplace at prices from £3 for a single ticket and £7.50 for a family ticket.


  • Interactive Concert Performance: An odyssey of highly original music with diverse styles of influence and great grooves. The Junkman™ performs on his rack of over 60 re-used materials and culminates the show with a Junkjam™ where the audience gets to join along in making music.


  • Make-& Take: A chance for children and parents to make a high-quality recycled materials percussion instrument with The Junkman™ and then take it home.


  • Interactive Eco-Workshop: Explores the basic science, math, and technology principles utilized in Junk Music™ and relates them to the environment. This workshop is interspersed with an interactive Junkjams.


Further details can be obtained by calling John Muir’s Birthplace on 01368 865899 or email

Happy Birthday John! (and John Muir Way)

It is a very special weekend here at John Muir’s Birthplace, in addition to it being Easter, when we get to consume our bodyweight in chocolate, it is also John Muir’s 181st Birthday AND the 5th Anniversary of the opening of the John Muir Way. Triple excuses for cake!

On Sunday 21 April, John Muir’s Birthplace Charitable Trust will sign a concordat with the John Muir Way Partnership agreeing to promote the John Muir Way as:

“An outstanding coast to coast route across the diverse landscapes and rich heritage of central Scotland; easily accessible and attractive to local people, businesses and visitors, and providing opportunities for all to increase understanding of John Muir’s legacy and philosophy through getting close to nature”

Immediately following this, Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace will celebrate the opening of their new exhibition John Muir, Writer. (More cake – can you see the theme?)
Following this we would recommend walking part of the John Muir Way (well you have had all that cake), and if you make it all 134 miles remember to claim your certificate from us or Helensburgh Leisure Centre!

To find out more about walking the John Muir Way, check out the website or to find out about wider events across the John Muir Birthday celebrations check out Alternatively you could try out some of the John Muir Trust’s suggested 10 Ways of Celebrating John Muir Day!

Whatever you plan to do this weekend – make sure to treat yourself to some cake! Happy John Muir Day!

New Exhibition – John Muir, Writer

In 2014 Dunbar-born John Muir, botanist, geologist, explorer, mountaineer and conservationist, became the 38th Scot to be commemorated in Writers’ Court in Edinburgh. His flagstone carries the words: “I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.” Muir was convinced that only then would folk protect the environment.
Muir sought to persuade people through his writings – letters, journals, articles for newspapers and magazines, and twelve books. The quill pen became his sword in the battle for conservation. This new exhibition curated by Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace, ‘John Muir, Writer’, tells how it came about. From 1 April – 30 September 2019.

John Muir in the French Pyrenees!

We are delighted to be showing a powerpoint exhibition about John Muir and the origin of the first American National Parks curated by senior pupils at Jean Dupuy High School in the French Pyrenees! On show until 31 March.

The panels of this exhibition were done last school year by nine sixteen-year-old pupils from Jean Dupuy High School in Tarbes with the help of a history and geography teacher and myself. Tarbes is situated in the south west of France, very near to the Pyrenees National Park.
I have been teaching English in this school for three years. Being a wild place lover, I have come regularly to Scotland since I was a French assistant near Stirling twenty-nine years ago. The idea of an exhibition in the French Pyrenees National Park premises came from my belief that my pupils could be interested in John Muir’s biography and contribute to make his life and the story of the first national parks in the world known in the Pyrenees. It was a great opportunity for me to teach important parts of American History such as Native American culture, colonization, the myth of the Frontier… We also talked about the emergence of the first ecological movement in 19th century USA with the influence of artists and scientists on public opinion and on politicians, which all led to the creation of the first national parks. John Muir Muir’s life and actions were thoroughly presented. I dealt with all these themes with some of my classes and nine pupils volunteered to do some panels. Adèle, Adèle-Nadja, Blandine, Camille, Corentin, Elodie, Estelle, Hamidou, Lila worked in their free time with our help. For John Muir’s biography, we made use of some books and documents I got at JMB when I first went there nearly ten years ago.
JMB website and Jo Moulin’s help were also very precious to achieve our work. We are also thankful to American National Parks staffs who sent to us very nice posters.
This exhibition was first displayed last May in Gavarnie Maison du Parc. Gavarnie is situated in the mountains near Tarbes and is also famous for its UNESCO site. Then, last September, we had the wonderful opportunity to have it displayed during the Europarc Conference in Aviemore.
At a time when environmental issues are in the frontlines again, I think it is very important that young people know about John Muir. The pupils perceived him as an example of perseverance, talent and resilience. Learning about his intense and fruitful life can encourage each of them to play their unique part and reminds us all that a single person can have a tremendous influence in the course of things. It is now a great honour for us to be given the opportunity to show you our work in his native home … Many thanks to JMB staff.
Dominique Marabèse

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