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18 June, 2014

Transatlantic project celebrates John Muir

Transatlantic project celebrates John Muir: John Muir app - opening page

A transatlantic project which allows people across the world to virtually step inside the Scottish and American homes of Scottish conservationist John Muir, using cutting-edge 3-D scanning technology, has been unveiled today.

The laser technology surveys sites in 3D, using the same techniques that have already created a digital archive for World Heritage sites such as Skara Brae on Orkney, the Antonine Wall, and world famous landmarks such as Mt Rushmore and the Sydney Opera House (all part of the Scottish Ten project at

The John Muir Birthplace Trust in Dunbar, where Muir was born, and the historic house where Muir and his family lived for many years in Martinez, California, have both been scanned. Visitors can now see detailed digital models, with photographs and a virtual 3D fly-through tour at both houses, as well as online at

The project is led jointly by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Historic Scotland, in conjunction with the John Muir Birthplace Trust, the US National Park Service and the CyArk Foundation. It links to 2014 Year of Homecoming and the centenary of John Muir’s death.

Two special stone carvings have also been placed at each location to symbolise the enduring link that Muir provides between both countries.

Richard Davison, SNH’s People & Landscapes programme manager, said, “John Muir was always experiencing and exploring nature. He’s renowned in both the US and Scotland, and indeed in many other parts of the world. We hope this international project will inspire people to learn more about John Muir and connect with nature by experiencing it, exploring it and helping to look after it.”

Dr Lyn Wilson, Digital Documentation Manager at Historic Scotland, said,

“Using the very latest in technology, we have brought our heritage to life. We have created an exceptionally accurate digital model of the site to conserve it for the benefit of future generations to come.”

Will Collin, a member of the John Muir Birthplace Trust, added, "John Muir’s love of nature was awakened here in Dunbar and, until the end of his life, he remained 'a Scot to the backbone'. This exciting project will make his boyhood home accessible across the whole world. It will let folk see what first inspired the lad from Dunbar and helped make the adult Muir nature’s foremost, and most eloquent, advocate."

Cllr Tim Day, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing for East Lothian Council, said, “I am thrilled that the birthplace of John Muir, the father of conservation and boy from Dunbar, has been scanned as part of this project. I am looking forward to seeing the results in the John Muir Birthplace Museum.”

Notes to editors

Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

CyArk is a non-profit entity whose mission is to digitally preserve cultural heritage sites through collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modelling, and other state-of-the-art technologies. For more information visit

The John Muir Birthplace Trust exists to promote knowledge of John Muir’s life and legacy: encourage participation in conservation: and inspire people to follow in Muir’s footsteps. The JMBT does this through the work of John Muir’s Birthplace, in Dunbar, Scotland, which is operated and managed by East Lothian Council Museums Service. The JMBT is a partnership between East Lothian Council, the John Muir Trust, the Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace and Dunbar Community Council.

Contact information

SNH Media

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig no air Twitter aig


John Muir app - opening page

John Muir app - opening page

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John Muir Birthplace - interior digitial reconstruction

John Muir Birthplace - interior digitial reconstruction

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