Thank you!

I just wanted to write a final post to say a huge thank you to everyone I’ve worked with over the past 6 years at East Lothian. It’s been fun, inspiring, varied, exciting, and an whirlwind adventure! I’ve been lucky enough to be involved from the development of a brand new centre, including museum, with the John Gray Centre, as well as working alongside community groups on Musselburgh Museum & the Coastal Communities Museum. Prestongrange Museum has also seen lots of development during my time here, as has Dunbar Town House. As well as all this, I’ve also had great opportunities to work with people and communities across East Lothian.

Maasai Warrior at Prestongrange

Maasai Warrior at Prestongrange

Some of my highlights have included:

1. Multi-Cultural Day at Prestongrange Museum which ran for 5 years and ended up attracting 1300 people last year! Always alot of organisation but all worth it for a fun-filled day, with sights and sounds from across the world coming to our museum.


2. Thinking up different ways of attracting people to visit our museums, from theatre shows in Dunbar Town House to a Suffragette rally at the John Gray Centre. I really enjoyed our dance themed weekend as part of Festival of Museums 2010, including the publicity shots of some amazing breakdancers!

Breakdancer upside down!

Breakdance Dunbar comes to life!


Aberlady's WW2 Museum

Aberlady’s WW2 Museum

3. I have also loved going out to visit all the schools, teachers and pupils across East Lothian to help them set up their own classroom museums. From Egyptians, to the Battle of Pinkie, to Dinosaurs, it was always fantastic to see what children’s imagination could bring to a museum!

4. Getting to work with some fantastic people, including our amazing seasonal Museum Assistants, Museum Officers, volunteers, freelancers, artists, people across the Council and in external organisations. Thanks to you all! You’ve been such a great support and help whenever I called up asking if I could just borrow that, or could you just come along and help me with this, or did you happen to know where I could borrow 20 replica Victorian dresses from…

Just calling from the 60s to say goodbye!

Just calling from the 1960s…

5. And of course, my final highlight, was getting to dress up in a variety of different costumes, outfits, and as a Christmas Elf!

So, it’s time for me to ring off, say goodbye, and thank you 🙂


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Museums Education Update

Sarah Cowie, our current Museums Education Officer, is leaving on 2nd April. At present, this means there will be some changes to our services to schools:

Museum Loan Boxes

  ·         Loan boxes currently on loan – Could you please have them ready to return after the Easter holidays and someone will collect from your school offices?

 ·         Loan boxes already booked – Any loan boxes that have already been booked for the summer term will be delivered to your schools after Easter

 ·         Borrowing loan boxes – Any future requests for loan boxes should now be directed to Loan boxes will now have to be collected and returned to/from Museums HQ in Haddington, and we will try to respond to your initial request within 2 weeks.

 Museum Curator in Training Sessions

 Classroom Museums – We will no longer be able to offer outreach sessions in your classrooms. Any sessions already booked will take place as planned, but beyond this we can no longer take any further bookings.

 School Visits to Our Museums

 If you would like to book a visit to any of our museums please contact the following:

  ·         Prestongrange Museum – Quonya Huff, or phone 0131 653 2904

 ·         Dunbar Town House or John Muir’s Birthplace – Tracy Robertson or Debbie Chalmers, or phone 01368 865899

 ·         John Gray Centre –  or phone 01620 820 695

 ·         Musselburgh Museum – phone 0131 665 6642

 ·         Coastal Communities Museum – phone 01620 894 313

 Any other questions/information

Please contact

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Brand New Whats On booklet for 2014

East Lothian Museum Service is proud to launch a new What’s On booklet for 2014. The new booklet includes event and exhibition details for all of our museums, and there’s sure to be something for everybody!

The King, the Queen & the Vicious Strumpet will be running until April 22nd at the John Gray Centre. This is followed by Our War: East Lothian 1914-1918 opening on the 17th May. Opening on the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, Our War will include stories from East Lothian’s people and places, and their experiences of what was known as the War to end all wars.

This year, Dunbar will be celebrating the life and times of John Muir on a grand scale. With The Story of my Boyhood and Youth, to The John Muir Festival and opening of the new John Muir Way coast to coast pathway, and then to Nature’s beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy, Dunbar Town House and John Muir’s Birthplace museum will be top priority to lovers of art, history and the great outdoors.

Spend the summer celebrating the great outdoors with Wild Prestongrange! Search for plant, flowers, animals and mini-beasts with specially designed walks and tours of Prestongrange Museum.

Musselburgh Museum will be sharing its great sporting heritage in 2014, starting with the 60 year anniversary of the Musselburgh Windsor Football club. While Scotland plays host to the Commonwealth Games, Musselburgh will show some of its greatest sporting men and women. From August a Heritage-Lottery funded project to capture the wartime memories of Musselburgh residents will run with an exhibition of the experiences and efforts of locals.

And don’t forget the Coastal Communities Museum at North Berwick. This summer they will have an exhibition exploring the impact of World War I on the coastal area. There will be events and activites for families and children, and you will find more information by visiting their website.

And don’t forget to download your digital copy of the new handbook!

ELC What’s On 2014 online

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I’ve had a request today for a castles or medieval life loan box. Incase it’s helpful for others, here’s my reply:

I’m afraid we don’t have a castles loan box. I would suggest maybe trying the following people instead:

 Historic Scotland have lots of resources on their website and they have loan boxes that you can use if you visit one of their castles –

Archaeology Scotland have resources you can borrow which could probably relate to castle/medieval life –

Edinburgh Outreach Archaeology Project offer free sessions in your class, and they might do one about castles/medieval life –

I know that the Council’s Archaeology team are also working on sessions for schools and they might have one that relates, so their contact would be Liz Jones

 If you know of more resources, feel free to leave a comment below so that others can share!

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Where do I find a skeleton?

I had a request last week from a teacher asking to borrow a skeleton for their topic.

Incase it’s useful for others, here’s my reply:

The Museum Service don’t have a skeleton you can borrow, but there are a few other options:

The archaeology department in the Council have one, the contact there would be Andy Robertson

Or you can borrow a Skeleton investigation kit from Archaeology Scotland who are based in Musselburgh –

Over the summer, when we looked at skeletons in a workshop, we also ordered moveable figures from Baker Ross that we could then make look like moving skeletons:

And we, of course, read the Funny Bones series of books, available from a local library near you 🙂

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Are you a regular visitor at Prestongrange? We need your suggestions!

We’re planning ahead for next year and we’re thinking of offering families a buggy-friendly nature trail around the Prestongrange site. If you’ve not been before, the museum is on the site of various industries which have now closed, and in their place, nature and wildlife bloom! Visitors walking around can see buildings such as the Hoffman kiln, Beam Engine and Powerhouse as well as railway tracks and machinery. In 2014, with it being the year of Homecoming focussing on East Lothian born John Muir and his love of wildlife, we thought we would celebrate the nature and wildlife of Prestongrange. We’re going to have an exhibition, called Wild Prestongrange, which will include the animals, plants, flowers and mini beasts that inhabit the Prestongrange site.

Family fun at Prestongrange

All aboard at Prestongrange!

We’d also like visitors to be able to pick up a map which shows them where they could spot some of these things around the site. We’ve asked the Countryside Rangers for their thoughts, but we’d really like to hear from our regular visitors too. Do you know where you can find the best brambles on site? Or, have you spotted a specific type of wildflower growing by the pottery? Or perhaps you know where the you can spot a rare butterfly within 5 minutes walk of the Visitor Centre?

Get in touch and let us know! You can either leave a comment below, tweet us as @ELMuseumService, send us as message on Facebook ‘East Lothian Council Museum Service’, or email us

We look forward to hearing all your suggestions!

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Christmas comes to our Museums!

An elf and santa pose for Christmas!

An elf and santa pose for Christmas!

East Lothian Council’s Museums have lots happening in the run up to Christmas and families can join in from the start of December. From 1st until 12th December, families can find the figures from the 12 Days of Christmas hidden around the John Gray Centre (Haddington) and John Muir’s Birthplace (Dunbar). Children who find a figure can post it into the Christmas postbox to be entered into a prize draw. There will also be daily prizes for people finding the characters.

There will also be a Festive Fun weekend at the John Gray Centre on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December. On both days, families will be able to make some Christmas decorations and crafts to take home. On the Saturday, there will also be a few special star guests as Santa and his elves will be in the Centre, giving out presents to children between 11am-12, and 1pm-2.30pm. There will also be live music and mince pies for visitors to enjoy. On Saturday 14th the event runs from 10am-3pm and on Sunday 15th, from 1.30pm-3.30pm.

Finally, there will be one last Christmas Crafts activity on Sunday 22nd December 1.30-3.30pm upstairs in the museum at the John Gray Centre. All activities are free to take part in and drop in, although donations are welcome. For more information, go to

John Muir’s Birthplace, Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery, and the John Gray Centre will close on Christmas Eve until 3rd January.

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Sunday Activities at the John Gray Centre

Our new programme of Sunday activities at the John Gray Centre restart on 3rd November!

Sunday 3rd November – Halloween Crafts

Sunday 10th November – Pop up Opera Puppets

Sunday 17th and 24th November – Dinosaurs and Fossils

Download the leaflet to see which activities are on when!

Sundays at John Gray Centre Nov13-Jan14

Sundays At John Gray Centre Nov-Dec13

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