New Exhibition – Inspired by John Muir

This wonderful selection of photos are the winning entries of a joint competition run by John Muir’s Birthplace and the Facebook group Dunbar in Pictures. It will be on display in John Muir’s Birthplace from 24 November until 21 December 2018. The photography competition was open to all photographers, professional and amateur alike.

The brief encouraged photographers to take time to look at the landscapes around Dunbar and the fine detail in nature that inspired John Muir as a child growing up in Dunbar. Photos of anything from landscapes to macro shots of nature, or people enjoying outdoor Dunbar were all welcome so long as they were taken within the geographical zone of Dunbar (boundaries are: Seacliff / Tantallon Castle in the west, Pease Bay / Cove in the east, and the Lammermuirs out to Garvald to the south) or a picture of Dunbar taken from across the Firth in Fife or from the top of North Berwick Law.

Special thanks to Gaynor Smith who helped conceive and administrate the project and all the participating photographers.

Spend your new East Lothian Gift Card with us!

John Muir’s Birthplace is delighted to be part of the new East Lothian Gift Card Scheme.

Following on from the council’s popular Christmas Shop Local Scheme, the gift card retains the same aims of supporting our town centres and local businesses and boosting East Lothian’s economy.

It’s really convenient too, with businesses of all kinds from shops to beauty therapists to restaurants all being able to take part in the scheme at no cost, with the only requirement being their business is able to take Mastercard credit card payments.

And to buy a gift card is easy too as it’s all done online and you just load your card with your chosen amount and it can then be used in participating East Lothian businesses.

This makes is not just the perfect Christmas gift but great for birthdays, celebrations, wedding and corporate gifts.

Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, Councillor John McMillan, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be supporting this initiative which is a great way of giving our local businesses a boost and keeping spending here in East Lothian. The card looks great, is easy to buy and use, and would be a perfect addition to any Christmas stocking!”

There are more than 100 businesses taking part at the moment, including hotels and restaurants, shops and service providers and we expect more and more will come on board as there’s really no limit to how many people can get involved in the gift card scheme. All the participating businesses will be listed on the gift card website and will display in their premises that the East Lothian Gift Card is accepted there.

The East Lothian Gift Card is available from

So why not think about buying an East Lothian Gift Card for someone this Christmas and give them the chance to pick a beautiful locally made present and support local businesses at the same time?  Here at John Muir’s Birthplace they can choose from books, Back from the Beach Seaglass Jewellery, Chain Bridge Honey Farm toiletries, Lothian Lavender candles and soaps or Marina Outdoors stationery as well as local cards by local artists and photographers including Gordon Jenkinson and Sheila Sim.

Maintenance in John Muir’s Birthplace

*Update Sun 18 November – we are delighted to announce that the upper floor reopened on Sun 3 Nov and the lift is fully operational once again. We would like to thank all our visitors for their patience at this time.*


Following an incident on the afternoon on Thur 1 November, please note that our top floor outlining John Muir’s later life and legacy is currently closed and our lift is out of order.  We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and hope our visitors will understand as we endeavour to get everything back to normal as soon as possible.

We do still have 2 floors available for you to visit in the meantime, and our shop is stocked with lots of books and lovely gifts!

Winter Hours

From Monday 1 October 2018 John Muir’s Birthplace will move to our winter opening hours of Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 1pm – 5pm. We will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  We often get asked if we are quieter in the winter months, however this is the time in which we do our planning for the season ahead.

We will be visited by more than 1500 school children over the academic year, including most P5 classes in East Lothian undertaking their John Muir Project as part of their Citizenship Studies.

The run up to Christmas can also be busy as people like our selection of local crafts made within 30 miles of Dunbar, including: Chain Bridge Honey Farm toiletries; Lothian Lavender Candles and soaps; Back From the Beach Seaglass Jewellery; Sheila Sim and Gordon Jenkinson Cards. We also have a wide selection of books by and about John Muir and the wilderness.

So we are here throughout the winter and we are kept on our toes! Please pop in and see what we’re up to and you may get a sneaky peek of what we have in store for 2019!

Doors Open Days 2018

We are delighted to once again be taking part in the Edinburgh and East Lothian Doors Open Days on 29 and 30 September organised by The Cockburn Association.  Drop in anytime 10am – 5pm on Saturday and 1pm – 5pm on Sunday and have a go at our new trail deigned especially for 2018 Year of Young People, exploring what life was like for John and a young boy in Dunbar.

Doors Open Day is your chance to explore some of Edinburgh & East Lothian’s architecturally and culturally significant buildings – all for free. From heritage landmarks to the newest architecture, Doors Open Day offers free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public or would normally charge an entry fee. The event also offers the public an opportunity to find out more about the area’s public buildings.


Peace Run

We were delighted this morning to welcome participants in the Sri Chinmoy Peace Run to John Muir’s Birthplace.

The Peace Run is a global torch relay that symbolizes humanity’s universal aspiration for a more peaceful world. Now in its third decade, the Peace Run is humanity’s largest and longest grassroots effort for peace. Since its inception the torch has visited more than 150 nations.

Along the route people in thousands of communities — from children to senior citizens, from everyday folks to world leaders — will join the Peace Runners by carrying the torch a few steps or a few miles, each person adding their hopes and dreams in a global wave of friendship and goodwill.

Everyone can participate: athletes and non-athletes, young and old alike. Carry the torch a few steps, a few blocks or a few miles, or join in one of the thousands of welcoming ceremonies along the route. All it takes is your commitment to take a step for world peace. Everyone gets a chance to hold the torch. Find out more info at

15 Years Young!

Happy Birthday to Us!

John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar opened its doors to the public on 23 August 2003. In the last 15 years, we have welcomed over 180,000 visitors from all over the world, and led them on a discovery of John Muir’s legacy.

School Group containing 100,000th visitor in 2012

John Muir was born on 21 April 1838. As a child he developed a deep love of the natural world which he explored around Dunbar. This interest grew into a lifelong journey, both physical and spiritual, of exploration, revelation, hardship and wonder. Arriving in Wisconsin at the age of 11, his later introduction to Yosemite Valley, California, resulted in his campaign to preserve wilderness. This led to the establishment of the first National Park system. Today, he is remembered as a pioneer of the modern conservation movement, and his message is as relevant now as it was then.

HRH Duke of Wessex visit 2008

The last 15 years have brought many key moments, from visits by royalty, Prince Edward on 2008, and Prince Charles in 2009, to the opening of the John Muir Way in 2014 including a visit by the First Minister, Alex Salmond. Mr Salmond was memorably joined by a whole group of bearded ‘John Muir’s at the beginning of the Way in Dunbar! (below)


Opening of John Muir Way 2014


Some of our favourite visitors have been those with a connection to John Muir himself, some of his direct descendants have made a pilgrimage to Dunbar and have been visibly moved by their experience, most recently his Great Granddaughter, Gail Culbertson (below).


We have also enjoyed spreading John Muir’s message to new generations, and each year around 1200 Primary 5 pupils from East Lothian visit the Birthplace as part of their John Muir Citizenship Project which also includes drama and dance sessions as well as visits to local nature hotspots with East Lothian Ranger Service.

Cockburnspath Primary John Muir Award 2018

The John Muir Award, which earlier this year celebrated its own 21st Birthday, is also going from strength to strength and we are delighted to welcome many groups undertaking different levels of the Award to give them an introduction to John Muir.


John Muir’s Birthplace is proud to be a Gold Green Tourism Venue and a 5* VisitScotland Visitor Attraction, showing our continuing commitment to conservation and quality and we look forward to many more years of spreading John’s words… ‘ I care only to entice people to look at nature’s loveliness.’

Cockburnspath Primary P6 & 7 Get their John Muir Awards!


Pupils from the senior class at Cockburnspath Primary have been working hard throughout this year to get their Discovery level John Muir Awards. The children have spend 8 afternoons throughout the year, discovering and exploring woods next to the school, and using all their senses to make sound maps, take part in treasure hunts, write poems, create sculpture and finally make minibeast hotels and lead the whole class in a litter pick of the woods.  Their favourite part was each session finishing with making hot chocolate on storm kettles and learning to ‘leave no trace’ that they had been exploring.

Team Building!

Making Musical instruments

Wild poem