Newsletter No.

24, June 2013

John Muir Quotations ............................................................ 2 Links with Marquette County, Wisconsin ............................ 3 Links with Meaford, Ontario .................................................. 5 Dunbar Primary School – Artist in Residence ..................... 5 Visitors to the Birthplace ........................................................ 6 John Muir’s Birthplace Museum - News................................ 8 Dunbar Civic Week – Dunbar Conversations ...................... 9 Friends of John Muir Country Park .................................... 10 John Muir Award Update ..................................................... 11 Opening of the John Muir Trust Wild Space ...................... 11 Annual Sand Sculpture Competition .................................. 12 Membership Renewal Reminders ....................................... 12 Annual Sand Sculpture Competition
Saturday 10th August, 10:00 - 12:00 East Beach

John Muir Quotations
Celebrating 100 years of

The Story of My Boyhood and Youth
On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s The Story of My Boyhood and Youth was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York. It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside. His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places. In recognition of the centenary of the publication of this book, and in the lead up to 175th anniversary of Muir’s birth, Friends’ President Jim Thompson posted a daily quotation to the Friends Facebook page1 starting on the 15th March 2013 with: “When I was a boy in Scotland I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures. Fortunately around my native town of Dunbar, by the stormy North Sea, there was no lack of wildness, though most of the land lay in smooth cultivation.” On 21st April, 2013 Jim completed the series of 38 quotations with: “Although I was four years at the University, I did not take the regular course of studies, but instead picked out what I thought would be most useful to me, particularly chemistry, which opened a new world, and mathematics and physics, a little Greek and Latin, botany and geology. I was far from satisfied with what I had learned, and should have stayed longer. Anyhow I wandered away on a glorious botanical and geological excursion, which has lasted nearly fifty years and is not yet completed, always happy and free, poor and rich, without thought of a diploma or of making a name, urged on and on through endless, inspiring, Godful beauty. From the top of a hill on the north side of Lake Mendota I gained a last wistful, lingering view of the beautiful University grounds and buildings where I had spent so many hungry and happy and hopeful days. There, with streaming eyes, I bade my blessed Alma Mater farewell. But I was only leaving one University for another, the Wisconsin University for the University of the Wilderness.”


Links with Marquette County, Wisconsin
When Daniel Muir took his family to the New World in 1849, his original destination was Canada but advice gathered en route made him change direction. Instead, the Muirs settled in Marquette County in the south of the frontier state of Wisconsin. Fellow settlers in the area were largely from Scotland or were Ulster Scots. Initially the area was sparsely populated with the nearest family four miles from the Muirs’ Fountain Lake farm. 2013 is the centenary of the first publication of Muir’s autobiography The Story of My Boyhood and Youth which covers the first 24 years of Muir’s life – the Dunbar and Wisconsin part. Friends have strong links with Martinez, California, and rather more tenuous ones with Haines, Alaska, and Meaford, Ontario. Wisconsin has proved more difficult. However, recently, the Wisconsin Friends of John Muir, based in Montello, the county town of Marquette County, has been reborn and contact was made through their website. When it was suggested to them that the two sets of Friends should bond in some way, that was enthusiastically received. E-mails were exchanged with their president Tiffany Lodholz and the vice-president Kathleen McGwin and the outcome was a suggested ‘Sister Cities’ declaration. [Kathleen is heavily involved in local history and she and Pauline Smeed, Friend and also Secretary of Dunbar & District History Society, have been corresponding – see the next article.] A couple of details needed to be resolved. Montello has a population of around 1,500; Dunbar’s is 8,000 and growing. Marquette County is a rural area and it was the countryside and seashore around Dunbar which awakened John Muir’s love of nature, and which contains the John Muir Country Park and over 18 miles of the John Muir Way. It was suggested that the link be between Marquette County and Dunbar & East Linton District. The latter involved seeking the approval of four community councils – Dunbar, Dunpender, East Lammermuir and West Barns. Agreement was given; Wisconsin Friends took the proposal to the Marquette County Board; and they voted unanimously to declare that the two areas were ‘Sister Cities’, the first time both partners were not technically ‘cities’ in the American sense. But then John Muir was never one to be kept within boundaries, was he? We look forward to the relationship developing. Will Collin 3

In 2011, Dunbar & District History Society was delighted to support John Muir’s Birthplace in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the twinning arrangement with Martinez. An exchange of photographs took place with the Martinez Historical Society and a display of ‘old’ Martinez was mounted at the Birthplace. It seemed highly appropriate therefore that, with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of My Boyhood and Youth, Dunbar and District History Society should contact a historical society in Marquette County, Wisconsin. Photographs of old Dunbar which were sent to Kathleen McGwin of Montello Historic Preservation Society are now on display in…(link here Duncan), while a powerpoint presentation of old Wisconsin images, sent by Kathleen, is running at the Birthplace. The images in the Birthplace show not only some of the homes & buildings which date back to John Muir’s early Wisconsin years, but some of his friends and the community. From the Old World to the New has proved a wonderful opportunity not only to forge closer links with Wisconsin, but to give staff, ‘Friends’ and our many visitors a greater understanding of the place where the Muir family made their new home in America. Dunbar & District History Society also have a display of photographs of Dunbar in the 19th century, showing just some of the events and places in our town associated with John Muir. This will run in Dunbar Town House Museum & Gallery until the end of the year.
Fountain Lake from the boat landing

Wisconsin settlers barn-raising

Pauline Smeed, Secretary, DDHS


Links with Meaford, Ontario
Thanks to an initiative by Stephen Bunyan, Chairman of Dunbar Community Council, links have been re-established with the community of Meaford2 in Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Friends of John Muir (CFJM) was Meaford’s equivalent community group to FoJMB but, sadly, CFJM "have officially terminated the organization. The members are still around and willing to assist visitors to our web site and to our community."3 However, the Mayor of Meaford recently responded very positively to Stephen Bunyan’s proposal to re-establish links with Meaford and FoJMB have followed up this by contacting the Mayor directly. It is hoped that this renewed enthusiasm for links between Dunbar and Meaford will result in positive outcomes for both communities. An update will be provided in the next newsletter. Duncan Smeed

Dunbar Primary School - Artist in Residence
Friends council member Ross Combe has completed a five week workshop series with all primary 3 classes at Dunbar Primary School as their 'Artist in Residence'. Muir's text, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, was referred to in each session as the inspiration for a varied set of artworks. Colour mixing from natural colours, insect architecture, miniglobe making, wet-felting and map making were explored. Friends have also funded the purchase of sketchbooks for all members of the DPS Art Club, with the intention that they record their 'Childhood and Youth' in Dunbar.
[Photos courtesy of Diane King, P3 teacher, DPS]

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Visitors to the Birthplace
Sierra Club President - Allison Chin
On Wednesday 1st May Allison Chin, the current President of the Sierra Club, arrived in Dunbar specifically to visit the Birthplace Museum. The ‘welcome party’ included John Hutchison, President of the John Muir Trust, John Thomas, JMT trustee and chairman of the John Muir Birthplace Trust, Stephen Bunyan, Chairman of Dunbar Community Council, Councillor Norman Hampshire, ‘Friends’ Will Collin and Jim Thompson and Jo Moulin the Museums Officer for John Muir’s Birthplace. Allison was fulsome in praise for the birthplace said she would spread word on her return to USA.
Carolyn Gray, Jo Moulin, John Hutchison, David Anderson, Allison Chin, John Thomas and Norman Hampshire

her and the the

[See also Allison’s visitor’s book comment below. Ed.]

Visitors’ Comments
Whilst I was volunteering at the John Muir Birthplace on Thursday 13th June a Canadian professional photographer, who told me he had toured the world, came in. He wrote in the visitor's book “The best exhibition of anything that I have ever encountered in my life... (I am 60)” Nice praise. As President of Friends I get great delight in the comments of visitors who say that the knowledge of the staff and the very warm welcome they receive made their visit special. Jim Thompson
[Since the opening of the Birthplace Museum in August 2003 there have been over 110,000 visitors and the Visitor’s Book is indeed a source of delight for those involved with the museum. Below are some more quotations from the visitors to the museum in May and June this year. Ed.]


• The first entry in May: This has been a “destination” for many years. Lovely & inspiring. Thank you from Sierra Club President. • Second time here, awesome and inspiring. [California] • Awesome! Really made my heart melt ! [Colorado] • Excellent and informative. Very welcoming. Will return. [Glasgow] • Informative & absorbing museum extremely well set out. [Perth, Western Australia] • John Muir was total unknown to me but after this visit and talking to the nice people, John Muir aspiration for the nature is even more important these days. Merci. [Paris] • Immensely moving. Thankyou. [Hertfordshire] • So interesting. What an incredible life story. [Somerset] • What an inspiring and informative exhibition. From southerners who had never even heard if John Muir. We have now. [Hampshire] • Superbly interesting. Helpful kindly staff. [Broughty Ferry] • Beautifully done. Greetings from Yosemite, California. • Lovely museum. As a Californian I am delighted to see this tribute to John Muir. • Fantastic place to visit. Very interesting. [North Yorkshire] • Wonderfully laid out – fascinating details & a true inspiration. [North Somerset] • Very inspiring. Thank you so much. [Isle of Wight] • Best museum. [Wisconsin] • Fabulous exhibit. [San Bruno, California] • The best summary of John Muir's life I have seen - a great man whose work has made a big difference to my enjoyment of nature! • I think this place is EPIC! I love how you can explore John's life. (Jeannie). Me too! (Jeannie's mum) • Very moving, beautiful, an informative excellent presentation. Wonderful reminder for a former NPS employee @ Sequoia Natl Park • Most interesting to reengage with John Muir again in the place of his birth. Extremely helpful assistants. Brilliant! [Cumbria] 7

John Muir’s Birthplace Museum – News Summer&Holiday&Activities&for&Children!
The John Muir Birthplace summer holiday activity programme is included in the East Lothian Council’s Summer Activities Brochure 2013 which is also available online4. Copies of the booking forms for these activities are available at Dunbar Town House, John Muir’s Birthplace Museum and in the online brochure.

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This exhibition is still on at the museum. There is also a lovely, digitally projected, display of historical images from Wisconsin that Dunbar and District History Society have coordinated in partnership with Marquette County Historical Society.

The temporary element of the My Boyhood and Youth exhibition [partly shown in the this photo] will change over on Friday 21st June with the following exhibitions from Northlight Arts5 over the summer:
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22 June – 25 July 2013& The Guga Stone by Douglas Robertson6& is an exhibition of drawing, assemblage and other collaborative work with poets and authors.


26th July – 25th August 2013& Tom Persinger7 and Alastair Cook8 present salt prints from John Muir’s Birthplace and his landing place, made this year using salt from the Atlantic Ocean which John and his family traversed.

Dunbar Civic Week – Dunbar Conversations
The John Muir Trail – How can Dunbar make the most of this opportunity?
As part of the Dunbar Civic Week, Kilvert Croft of Dunbar Community Council chaired a Dunbar Conversations event. The theme for this was inspired by the fact that the John Muir Trail between Dunbar on the east coast and Helensburgh on the west coast will be officially opened by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, on April 21st 2014. Guest speakers were Keith Geddes from Central Scotland Green Network and Ron McCraw from Scottish Natural Heritage. Keith and Ron are the main driving forces behind the creation of this new national trail. Also taking part in the ‘Conversation’ were representatives from various local organisations such as Dunbar Traders as well as East Lothian Council. There was an excellent turnout for this event and it is hoped that the enthusiasm of those that participated – including members of ‘Friends’ can be maintained and harnessed for the good of the local community. A more extensive article and updates on progress will appear in a future newsletter.
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Friends of John Muir Country Park
Friends of the John Muir Country Park9 generally meet on the last Saturday of each month, generally at 10am at Linkfield car park. However, in April, the FoJMCP work party was arranged tto coincide with the weekend of Muir’s birthday celebrations. So, on Saturday 20th April, stalwarts of FoJMB joined others 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 planting the first of many trees. Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “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.” East Lothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire, said: “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.”


John Muir Award Update
The John Muir Award team have developed a new website - to act as a one stop shop for John Muir Resources, events... and much more. The John Muir Award Scotland Gathering for all John Muir award providers will be in Dunbar on Friday 9th Sept based at Dunbar Town House Museum & Gallery but visiting John Muir's Birthplace and various outdoor venues during the day. For more details see:

Opening of the John Muir Trust Wild Space
Jo Moulin (Museums Officer, John Muir’s Birthplace) attended the opening of Wild Space in Pitlochry on 23rd April. The brand new visitor centre in the heart of Pitlochry showcasing Scotland’s fantastic wild places and the critical role conservation plays in keeping them wild. Jo met with Jane Grimley, Wild Space Manager at John Muir’s Birthplace in February to discuss partnership opportunities and make sure that there was signposting between the two attractions. In the first month of opening Wild Space has had over 5,000 visitors in the first 8 weeks and has just taken delivery of a second batch of the Friend’s of JMB wee books for sale in the shop and JMB leaflets. WATCH…a beautiful short film10 featuring the stunning landscapes and wildlife of Scotland. LISTEN…as local people take you on audio journeys through the culture and ecology of our wildest places. CONNECT…with nature in a self-guided exhibition featuring the work of top landscape and wildlife photographers.

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Annual Sand Sculpture Competition Saturday, 10th August, 10:00 to 12:00, East Beach
Following on from very successful competitions in the past, we plan to do the same again! Get out your buckets and spades and put your thinking caps on! Our popular Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace Sand Sculpture Competition will take place this year on Saturday 10th August from 10am – 12noon at the East Beach, Dunbar. Come along and make a sea creature ... a mermaid ... a boat ... historic landmark etc. Let your imagination run wild! ‘Community’ judging and award of prizes will take place at noon. There will be adult, child and family/group categories and prizes will be awarded for the best sculpture in each category. Entry will be £2 per adult, £1 per child and £5 per family. We trust that summer will truly have arrived by August, but if the weather is poor on the day, please phone John Muir’s Birthplace - 01368 865899 – at or just after 10am to find out if the event has been postponed

Membership Renewal Reminders
Renewal forms were included in the last newsletter for Friends who had taken out their membership on an annual basis and whose renewals are not automatically paid by standing order. Friends’ Council hopes that the initiatives, events and publications that are produced to help promote Muir’s life and work and that support John Muir’s Birthplace have been of interest to the membership. If our records show that your membership is still due for renewal then a subscription form will be included in this newsletter mailing. FRIENDS CONTACTS Official address: Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace, John Muir’s Birthplace, 126 High Street, Dunbar EH42 1JJ: tel: 01368 865899 Friends Email: Friends Website: Facebook: Birthplace Email: Birthplace Website: 12