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John Muir Birthplace Visitor Center Re-Opening

East Lothian Council Press Release: 18 August 2003

John Muir Birthplace, Dunbar Scotland

The Dunbar birthplace of the pioneering Victorian conservationist, John Muir, has been transformed into a new visitor attraction. Opening on Saturday 23 August, John Muir's Birthplace, is a stunning interpretative centre which highlights the work and achievements of the remarkable man who has been dubbed 'the father of modern conservation.'

The £ 500,000 centre has been imaginatively created within the property at 126 High Street, Dunbar where John Muir was born in 1838. Three themes are used to guide the visitor through the three floors of the building. The ground floor details Muir's boyhood in Dunbar and how the influences of the town and surrounding landscape shaped the future interests and beliefs of the man.

The second theme of the centre concentrates on Muir's life and work and provides visitors with an idea of the extent to which Muir's life was a spiritual journey of exploration, revelation, hardship and wonder. The top floor of the centre aims to encourage visitors to make their own links between John Muir's life and work and current and future environmental issues. That one man can change the world and inspire so many to become responsible for protecting our environment is a key theme of the centre.

Birthplace Plaque

Campbell and Co were the creative team who developed the project working with architect, Richard Murphy. Campbell and Co have wide experience of designing and developing interpretation centres and other recent projects include the Scottish Parliament visitor centre, Stirling Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia visitor centre.

Cllr. Norman Hampshire, Chair of the John Muir Birthplace Trust, said: "All the trustees are absolutely delighted to see the finished centre open to the public. John Muir influenced, and continues to influence, many individuals and organisations with his discoveries, teachings ... and beliefs about conservation and the natural environment. This centre gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about Muir and also to develop their own interests about conservation."

Chair of the Edinburgh and Lothian's Tourist Board, Councillor Donald Wilson, said: 'As well as informing people and commemorating the life of a very influential man, this centre is a welcome addition to Dunbar's portfolio of visitor attractions and is yet another good reason to visit Scotland's sunniest town.'

The £ 500,000 cost of creating the centre was supported by a £ 292,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Commenting from The Heritage Lottery Fund, Colin McLean, Manager for Scotland, said: "As a pioneering Scot, the impact John Muir has had on the world's environment is quite remarkable. This opening is a symbol of all that he achieved and ensures Scotland maintains its involvement with the world wide conservation movement. It provides opportunities for people to learn more about his groundbreaking work and perhaps understand more about our beautiful natural heritage."


18 August 2003
Issued by Jill Mackay, Public Relations Officer
Tel: 01620 827743

Notes to Editors:

1. The John Muir Birthplace opens to the public on Saturday 23 August at 10am. If you would like to send a photographer/reporter prior to the opening please contact Jill Mackay to arrange suitable date and time.

2. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation's heritage for everyone to enjoy. We have supported more than 12,000 projects, allocating over £ 2 billion across the UK.

Further information
Please contact Shiona Mackay on 01786 870638 or Owen Roffe on 020 7591 6046, out of hours 07973 613820. Website

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