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Digitizing Two Homes of John Muir

Monday 8 April 2013

A PROJECT has been launched to document in three-dimensional digital format Scottish conservationist John Muir's homes.

The Scottish Government is marking the 175th anniversary of the environmentalist's birth this year by capturing Muir's birthplace in the East Lothian town of Dunbar, along with his home in Martinez, California, in a high-resolution digital project. The project will digitally document in 3D the homes of Scottish conservationist John Muir using cutting-edge scanning technology.

Muir is the founder of the US national park system, after campaigning to save Yosemite and Sierra from agricultural development and founding the renowned Sierra Club conservation body.

The initiative plans use scanning technology to capture the properties in virtual form in a new partnership to help promote his life and work in Scotland's Year of Natural Scotland.

It is a partnership between Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, the US National Park Service and the CyArk Foundation and will be used to deepen the existing links between the two historic sites.

Visitors will be able to log on to the web sites for a virtual tour of the homes.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, in announcing the project on April 8, 2013, also confirmed that the project would see apprentices from Historic Scotland create two special carvings that will be placed at each location to symbolise the enduring link that Muir provides to both countries.

The First Minister said:

“John Muir continues to be held in incredibly high regard by people on both sides of the Atlantic and it is entirely fitting that in 2013 we mark the 175th anniversary of his birth by strengthening the links between the country in which he was born, and the country he chose to make his home.

“The project, I am delighted to announce today, will help educate and inform people about how a boy from the small town of Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland crossed the Atlantic and rose to such prominence that he would feature on a US postal stamp and become considered to be the founder of the United States’ national parks.

“Using technology that has already been deployed to magnificent effect in the Scottish Ten initiative, the project will digitally scan Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar and his home in California and the resulting 3D images will allow visitors to either site to tour the other and learn more about John Muir’s fascinating journey.

“During his incredible career, Scottish-born Muir worked tirelessly to preserve the magnificent landscapes of his new home in the United States for future generations. During our Year of Natural Scotland in 2013, and ahead of our second Year of Homecoming in 2014 – where the John Muir Festival will be one of the signature events - it is entirely fitting that we take these steps to raise awareness and celebrate Muir’s outstanding natural legacy.”

Superintendent Tom Leatherman, who oversees John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California said:

“John Muir once mused, ‘When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.’ We are excited about the opportunity to use this connection with Historic Scotland to highlight some of Muir’s own ‘invisible cords’ and provide a greater opportunity to share his legacy with the world.

"I cannot help but think that John Muir himself would be proud of this endeavor and we are excited to have the opportunity to work closely with CyArk, Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to make it a reality.”


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