New Access Guide

We are delighted to introduce our new access guide for John Muir’s Birthplace. A link can be found at the bottom of this page or on our  Access Page .  This comprehensive new guide gives all the information you will need to decide if our exhibition meets your access requirements. We would also always encourage you to call us on 01368 865899 with your specific requirements and we will endeavour to make any necessary adjustments to make your visit as simple as possible.

We are passionate about John Muir’s message and are keen that there are no barriers to anyone who would like to find out more.


Half Term Activities

As half-term starts in various parts of the country you might be looking for something to occupy your little darlings, especially if the weather remains foul!  Why not check out our ‘Home Activities‘ section, which has 100 days of activities developed during our lockdown earlier in 2020?  Some of our favourites would be making a Marble Run Part 1 and Marble Run Part 2.  or why not have a go at some old fashioned fairground games such as Tin Can Alley  or Coconut Shy.

If you would like to complete something more nature-based, try Preserve Nature or take a few days to build up your own Wildlife Mobile:

Wildlife mobile – nest

Wildlife Mobile – Music

Wildlife Mobile – Wasps nest

Wildlife Mobile – Kingfisher

Wildlife mobile – assemble

With 100 days of activities, there will be something to occupy anyone who has has enough of snowman making!


Have fun!

WWF competition asks creatives to reimagine Earth’s future

competition launched by WWF asks artists and creative practitioners to imagine a future where people and nature can thrive in harmony.

The initiative, titled Just Imagine, takes inspiration from David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, a 2020 film from the broadcaster in which he reflects on environmental changes during his lifetime and presents his hopeful vision for the future. WWF, one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, co-produced the film.

The competition is open to the whole creative arts sector, spanning disciplines from photography to fashion, and there will be a special category for international submissions in collaboration with the British Council.

Twelve winning entrants will work with the WWF and a leading curator to plan and deliver a virtual exhibition of their pieces. The exhibition will aim to encourage positive change among leaders and communities by demonstrating the power of creativity.

The judging panel includes artist and environmentalist Judy Ling Wong, Greg Bunbury, graphic designer at the helm of social initiative the Black Outdoor Arts Project, and anthropological future designer Stacie Woolsey.

Kate Norgrove, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, said: “This year has shown the incredible strength and influence that public pressure can have on shaping our collective direction and driving positive change. 2021 is critical for environmental action and now more than ever, it’s important to raise conversations and public demand for the protection of nature.”

“By launching this competition, we hope to provide a platform for artists throughout the UK to create a new narrative on nature in a way that brings people together and educates and inspires their communities to protect our planet.”

Entries will close at 1700 on Sunday 7 February. More information can be found at Just Imagine | WWF.

A Walk around John’s Dunbar

Have you found our new blog series on our Facebook Page yet? You might not be able to visit our building at the moment, so we thought we would highlight some of the places around Dunbar  that have a connection to John Muir.  He may only have lived in the town for the first 10.5 years of his life, but there are several places around the town that left such a vivid imprint in his memory, he found them easily on his return visit in 1893.  Indeed his book ‘The story of my Boyhood and Youth’ published in 1913 still evokes the smells and sounds of the North Sea familiar to those of us who live and work here today.  The first 2 instalments are published, with more on the way in the next few weeks. Make sure ou are following us on Facebook  to make sure you don’t miss a post. Enjoy!

A snowy ride

Waking up to a winter wonderland this morning made us think of one of John’s wildest adventures riding an avalanche!  This is his description taken from ‘The Yosemite’ (1912)


“One fine Yosemite morning after a heavy snowfall, being
eager to see as many avalanches as possible and wide views of the forest and
summit peaks in their new white robes before the sunshine had time to change
them, I set out early to climb by a side cañon to the top of a commanding ridge a
little over three thousand feet above the Valley. On account of the looseness of
the snow that blocked the cañon I knew the climb would require a long time,
some three or four hours as I estimated; but it proved far more difficult than I
had anticipated. Most of the way I sank waist deep, almost out of sight in some
places. After spending the whole day to within half an hour or so of sundown, I
was still several hundred feet below the summit. Then my hopes were reduced to
getting up in time to see the sunset. But I was not to get summit views of any
sort that day, for deep trampling near the cañon head, where the snow was
strained, started an avalanche, and I was swished down to the foot of the cañon
as if by enchantment. The wallowing ascent had taken nearly all day, the
descent only about a minute. When the avalanche started I threw myself on my
back and spread my arms to try to keep from sinking. Fortunately, though the
grade of the cañon is very steep, it is not interrupted by precipices large enough
to cause outbounding or free plunging. On no part of the rush was I buried. I was
only moderately imbedded on the surface or at times a little below it, and covered
with a veil of back-streaming dust particles; and as the whole mass beneath and
about me joined in the flight there was no friction, though I was tossed here and
there and lurched from side to side. When the avalanche came to rest I found
myself on top of the crumpled pile without bruise or scar. This was a fine
experience. Hawthorne says somewhere that steam has spiritualized travel;
though unspiritual smells, smoke, etc., still attend steam travel. This flight in what
might be called a milky way of snow-stars was the most spiritual and exhilarating
of all the modes of motion I have ever experienced. Elijah’s flight in a chariot of
fire could hardly have been more gloriously exciting. “

Enjoy your sledging!

A Glimpse Inside

Once again we have had to close our doors, hopefully it won’t be long before we are able to welcome you back into John Muir’s Birthplace. In the meantime, we still have lots of ways to help you explore the life and legacy of John Muir.

  • You can see some of our temporary exhibitions by visiting our  Exhibitions page. Look out for some new additions soon.
  • Check out our Home Activities page for lots of ideas to support home learning.
  • Have a look on on Facebook or Twitter @JM_Birthplace for all the latest info on what we are up to!
  • Watch the short tour below of Duncan Smeed, Chair of John Muir’s Birthplace Charitable Trust on a short tour of the building. Brought to you with thanks to Michael Conti.

January Lockdown

In line with the latest Scottish Government Announcement, John Muir’s Birthplace will remain closed for the month of January, and will only reopen when it is safe to do so.  In the meantime, why not check out our online Exhibitions or try our Home 100 Activities to help with home schooling – or as boredom busters! We look forward to welcoming you back soon – take care and stay safe!

Christmas Closure

Following the latest Scottish Government announcement, John Muir’s Birthplace will close at 4pm on Thursday 24 December and reopen Wednesday 20th January should guidelines allow.

Please keep following our social media channels for further information.

Thank you for your support during 2020 and we look forward to welcoming you back when safe to do so in 2021.

Christmas Dinner with John Muir

John Muir doesn’t write much about Christmas, indeed one can imagine that he would be unimpressed with the tinsel and trappings of the holidays. However he enjoyed the company of others, and in this extract from ‘Yosemite in Winter’, first published in 1872, he was particularly taken with Christmas dinner!

…we slid smoothly over the astronomical edge of ’71; Santa Claus came with very little ado, gave trinkets to our half-dozen younglings, and dropped crusted cakes into bachelors’ cabins; but upon the whole our holidays were sorry, unhilarious, whiskified affairs. A grand intercampal Christmas dinner was devised on a scale and style becoming our peerless valley; heaps of solemn substantials were to be lightened and broidered with cookies, and backed by countless cakes, blocky and big as boulders, and a craggy trough-shaped pie was planned for the heart and soul of the feast. It was to have formed a rough model of Yosemite, with domes and brows of “duff” and falls of buttering gravy.

May we take this opportunity to wish all our followers a

Merry Christmas and a Safe and Healthy New Year!

We will be closed from 25 Dec – 19 January inclusive, please keep watching in the New Year as we unveil our plans for 2021.

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