New Saturday Storytimes!

You may already be familiar with our drop in craft sessions each weekend, however starting from Saturday 10 March we will be adding to this offer by holding storytime sessions suitable for pre-school and early primary school children at 11am and 2.30pm each Saturday.  Themes will be linked to our drop in for that week so Saturday 10 March will be Mother’s Day Flower Wreaths, butterflies and linked stories, Saturday 17 March will have a froggie theme and Saturday 24 March is all about birds. Sessions are free, however donations towards craft materials are always welcome. We look forward to seeing you then!

The Lost Words

With acrostic ‘spells’ by Robert Macfarlane and beautiful watercolour artwork by Jackie Morris, The Lost Words conjures back to glorious life some natural words fading from usage.

Published in October 2017, this stunning book focuses on words that are moving to the margins of many children’s lives and stories – bluebell, dandelion, otter, kingfisher, acorn – and presents them as both challenge and celebration.

Now available in John Muir’s Birthplace for £20, this book makes a lovely gift for all ages, or just treat yourself!  The John Muir Trust has also produced some fantastic resources for groups and schools which can be found on their website including an explorer’s guide, posters and a literature and nature resource.

Lothian Lavender

We are delighted to welcome on board Lothian Lavender as a new line in gift for our ‘Locally Sourced..’ shop.

 ‘We are newly established lavender growers in Scotland, growing the flowers we use in our dried lavender gifts. Our family farm is nestled at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian.

Known as the ‘Garden of Scotland’, East Lothian has proven itself to be well suited to growing our lavender.’

With beautifully packaged products including soap, candles, wax melts and lavender bags, these lovely gifts are very reasonably priced starting from only £1.50, please pop in for a look!

Locally Made

ALocally made shops a Gold Green Tourism venue, we are always striving at John Muir’s Birthplace to find new ways of looking after the environment and championing local producers.

Our latest innovation is to highlight local craftspeople in our shop.  We now have a new ‘Locally Made…’ section in which all items for sale are produced within 30 miles of Dunbar. So why not pop in for a look and treat yourself to some lovely toiletries from Chain Bridge Honey Farm, or some lovely Sea Glass Jewellery from Back from the Beach.  We have lovely ties and scarves in John Muir Way Tartan from Gordon Nicholson as well as Sheila Sim and Gordon Jenkinson Cards and Lynn Fulton Ceramics.

Dunbar and East Lothian has long provided inspiration for artists and makers, and this is our small way of celebrating their work.


First Editions on Display

Some time ago, ‘Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace’ were gifted a first edition copy of John Muir’s first book ‘Mountains of California’ (1894) and two first edition copies of ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ (1913).  They are currently on display in the exhibition room in the Birthplace.  Two bear inscriptions by friends of John Muir but one of the copies of ‘Boyhood and Youth’ is extra special.  It was sent by the great man himself to a Dunbar photographer Thomas T Bisset who lived at Rose Cottage on Woodbush Brae.  It bears the inscription in Muir’s handwriting, “To Thomas T Bisset, with fond regard, John Muir, Martinez, January 1914″.  Among other items in the display is a copy of Bisset’s earlier letter to Muir which explains Muir’s gift and four ‘Bisset Series’ postcards.First edition case


Interesting Comments

On cold, damp January days, when visitor numbers are not quite reaching the heady numbers we can see in the summer months, and we have updated our visitor number spreadsheets and dusted the retail shelves to within an inch of their lives, we allow ourselves the pleasure of having a look through our visitor comments book.  We are extremely lucky that our visitors are always very complimentary about our display and our staff, however there was one particular comment that caught our eye last week:


Left by a lovely lady from Taiwan, it means ‘Wonderful, love the nature.’ A sentiment we certainly agree with!

Festive Opening Hours 2017

Merry Christmas to all our visitors, and we hope you have a happy and healthy 2018!

John Muir’s Birthplace will be closed from 25 December until 2 January inclusive, and we will reopen on Wed 3 January at 10am.

We are looking forward to a very busy 2018 which includes some thrilling plans for the John Muir Award 21st Birthday, an exhibition on John Muir and William Keith and exciting developments within our shop to emphasis local producers.

We also anticipate welcoming many more of you walking the John Muir Way, if you complete this in 2018 remember to pop in for your certificate.

Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year

We are delighted to be hosting images from the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year once again. This ever popular show contains some amazing images, including well known and unfamiliar views from across our beautiful country.

Now in its third year, the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition is the brainchild of respected Scottish Landscape photographer, Stuart Lowe. His aim is to showcase the work and raise the profiles of the many talented photographers who live in, and come to Scotland to capture breathtaking scenery through their lenses.

It is a true photographer of the year competition, where the overall winner is chosen from a portfolio of work and judged from the quality of their images combined with field-craft and genuine photography skills.

On display are 8 of the winners of the John Muir Trust – Wild Spaces category of the competition, awarded to photographers whose images represent Scotland’s wild places and 10 further images from other categories.

To find out more about the competition please visit

Learning on the Job

John Muir’s Birthplace

As a sixth year student from the Berwickshire High School, I spent this week on work experience at the John Muir’s Birthplace and the John Gray Centre in East Lothian. I got to experience what it is like to work in these places while also having the opportunity to see and learn about lots of historical things.

I saw the behind the scenes of many different job roles surrounding museums, such as general work in the museum, planning exhibitions and events, talks, working in collections and archives and also maintaining and updating the museums. All of these jobs were more complicated than I originally thought. There are many things I didn’t think about when it comes to running a museum, like the many different skills that are necessary. The most unexpected skills I saw utilised were design skills, that needed to be used on the image of the museums.

The main thing I had the opportunity to learn about was John Muir and his legacy and how his story is told through the John Muir’s Birthplace museum. Working in the museum involves taking tours and talks, organising events and exhibitions, working on maintaining the museum and also office work. This job involves a lot of flexibility and the need to be able to adapt to change which is something I didn’t originally consider when I signed up for this work experience placement.

This week has helped me to discover that I would like to work in an office, mainly because I enjoy being organised and planning. Office work was something I got to see at the Dunbar Town House and John Gray Centre, where some of the things they did there was research and planning things. I also discovered that my main skills are in gathering information, which is something I learned from being in the museums, surrounded by information.