In early-2020 Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace worked together with other groups in Dunbar to focus on Muir’s role as an environmental activist and successful campaigner and his relevance for our situation today.
The exhibition was scheduled to be installed in the Birthplace and be on show between April and October. The intention was that it would support the review and expansion of the John Muir’s Legacy section of the permanent exhibition. However, due to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this had on the preparation, production and installation of the physical exhibition, it is not yet known when the exhibition will be physically installed and opened in the Birthplace.
The hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means that some of the exhibition’s content and themes outlined in a public preview back in February have been amended to include references to the current crisis.
This latest addition to our virtual exhibitions starts at the John Muir, Earth-Planet, Universe page.
The latest news item in the John Muir Birthplace website – https://www.jmbt.org.uk/2020/05/28/happy-birthday-sierra-club/ – prompted an update to the Exhibitions section of this website about the Friends’ exhibition, ‘125 Years of the Sierra Club’, that was hosted in the Birthplace from April 21st until July 26th 2017 (having been extended beyond the end of June). Six panels gave an overview of the history of the Sierra Club with an emphasis on John Muir’s involvement in the founding, and ethos, of the organisation.
See this latest addition to our virtual exhibitions at the 125 Years of the Sierra Club page.
To highlight the John Muir Day Celebrations (18th-26th April) 2020 the John Muir Trust has created a ‘6 ways to mark John Muir Day’ webpage at https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/latest/ways-to-mark-john-muir-day
Content has been selected to inspire, interest and stimulate activity – all within the current context of COVID-19 restrictions. This includes blogs and thought pieces on the relevance of Muir’s legacy, caring for nature on our doorsteps, and 10 creative Muir-related activity ideas. The John Muir Trust has also included the popular Scottish Book Trust graphic novel John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe, a quiz (which is always received really well), and a brand new link to online copies of Muir’s Journals.
There should be something for everyone – especially during this time of lockdown.
The hashtag #JohnMuirDay is being used to promote these, and other, events.
Posted in News
On this day 7 years ago Friends of John Muir Country Park (FoJMCP) arranged a work party to coincide with the weekend of Muir’s 175th birthday celebrations. So, on Saturday 20th April, 2013, members of FoJMB joined FoJMCP to plant hundreds of trees at Linkfield car park. The work party included Scottish Government Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse MSP shown in the photograph (below) planting the first of many trees.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP planting the first of many trees
FoJMB Newsletter #24, June 2013 featured this story with quotes from Paul Wheelhouse: “Throughout his incredible career, John Muir worked tirelessly to preserve the natural environment for future generations, inspiring people worldwide with his exceptional passion and commitment. During our Year of Natural Scotland in 2013 it is entirely fitting that we mark the 175th anniversary of his birth – here in Dunbar – by celebrating his outstanding natural legacy and encouraging people across Scotland to follow in Muir’s footsteps to experience the great Scottish outdoors. I regularly visit John Muir Country Park, and it’s a real honour for me to have a chance, here, to formally mark the life of someone whose work I greatly admire.”
and from East Lothian Council’s [then] Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire: “John Muir’s innovative work in recognising the importance of protecting the natural environment has been widely appreciated and adopted across the world. Growing up in Dunbar the young John greatly loved the variety of the natural environment around the town. Events such as this weekend not only promote the values and beliefs of Muir but also seek to actively put many of his ideas into practice to enhance and protect the local environment.”
2013 was also the Year of Natural Scotland and a banner was attached to the one of the areas set aside for planting to mark the occasion.
The Year of Natural Scotland 2013
This was what this area looked like during the planting.
Tree planting in progress, April 20th 2013
Seven years on this is what it looks like now!
The following visitor countries of origin have been transcribed from the one visitor book that covers 2019. There were 613 entries in total. The following word cloud has been generated from these entries.
Combining already transcribed comments and adding the comments from earlier in 2019, here is the word cloud from all 564 comments made in the visitor book during 2019. Every one of the comments was positive!
Exhibition: John Muir, Earth-Planet, Universe
Preview, Q&A and Discussion
Wednesday 26th February 2020 at 7:30pm
Community Room, Dunbar Town House
This public event is a preview of the Friends’ forthcoming 2020 exhibition followed by a Q&A and discussion on the theme of What If?
See John Muir, Earth-Planet, Universe for further details.
In 2020 Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace are working together with other groups in Dunbar to focus on Muir’s role as an environmental activist and successful campaigner and his relevance for our situation today. In an emergency, we have to behave differently and act swiftly. How are we doing that? From April to October the exhibition at the Birthplace will support the review and expansion of the John Muir’s Legacy section of the permanent exhibition. The aim is to:
- Raise awareness of how one individual – John Muir – changed the world
- Highlight those following in Muir’s footsteps
- Highlight the current position, issues to be addressed and local implications
- Highlight and map the great range of local community-led activities
- Develop a shared vision for a resilient community and a local, net-zero carbon future
- Inspire people to do stuff
With the Exhibition as a starting point, to focus on:
- The ability of one individual to make a change – to capture the imagination – Muir through time to Greta Thunberg
- Building on the very wide range of activity which already exists in the area, in particular, volunteer activity
- Identifying those local groups that are working in diverse ways to build a more resilient, more equitable community
- Bringing individuals and groups within our community together to develop a shared purpose and to work jointly to address the challenges of the Climate Emergency
- Mapping these local projects and making their activity more visible by telling stories of their activity with photos, podcasts and other media
- Showcasing individual groups on a rolling basis through the period of the exhibition
- Asking ‘What if?’ questions to spark people’s imaginations around future opportunities and to start articulating a positive vision for Dunbar and East Linton Ward in the context of the Climate Emergency
- Arranging and facilitating a range of events and activities in conjunction with other groups culminating in –
- A great walk along the John Muir Way – arriving in Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Conference in November 2020
Notice of Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 26th February 2020 at 6:45pm for 7:00pm
Council Chambers, Dunbar Town House, High Street, Dunbar
(i) Report of year’s activities
(ii) Filling any vacancies on Council 
(iii) Other competent business
Non-members will be warmly welcomed and after the AGM business – at 7:30pm in the Community Room – there will be a short preview of the Friends’ forthcoming 2020 exhibition (see John Muir, Earth-Planet, Universe) followed by a Q&A and discussion on the theme of What If?
Inspired by Muir
As Convener of Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace (FoJMB) I’ve often found myself using the phrase ‘Inspired by Muir’. Personally, I’ve also found inspiration from Muir’s life and work and actively promote and support initiatives that bring Muir and his legacy to the attention of a wider public.
In 2019 FoJMB celebrated its 25th anniversary. In July 1994 Dunbar’s John Muir Association – as FoJMB was then known – was established. Much has been achieved by the charity since then but what will the next 25 years bring? Continuing to support the work of the Birthplace and actively collaborating with the other partners in the John Muir Birthplace Trust is a given. If anyone who is reading this would like to contribute their time and expertise to furthering the aims and objectives of FoJMB please consider standing for Council. I also encourage all members to ‘recruit’ others to our cause if at all possible.
Our 2020 exhibition departs somewhat from the pattern of concentrating on the life and legacy of John Muir. This exhibition will, of course, acknowledge Muir’s advocacy in protecting nature. However, it also addresses the issues that now impact on every living thing that relies on planet Earth for survival!
Duncan Smeed, FoJMB Convener
 Nominations for Council accompanied with the nominee’s agreement in writing and items for consideration under other competent business should be lodged with the Secretary, c/o John Muir’s Birthplace Museum, 126 High Street, Dunbar, EH42 1JJ by Friday 21st February 2020.
After the business of the Extraordinary General Meeting on 14th August 2019 I gave a short presentation about the achievements and milestones of DJMA/FoJMB over the past 25 years (see link below). This was followed by a short discussion – to be continued at a later date – about future plans and aspirations for our Charity.
Duncan Smeed, FoJMB Convener
EGM Presentation: Timeline_25th_Anniversary