2005 – The Life and Legacy of John Muir


Tartan Day on Ellis Island to Celebrate “The Life and Legacy of John Muir”

Annual Tartan Day Celebration to Focus on the Scots-Born “Father of the American National Parks”

The Clan Currie Society announced today final plans for their annual National Tartan Day celebration at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. For 2005, Clan Currie has produced a new exhibit in honor of John Muir, the conservationist, author, and environmental activist largely renowned as the “father of America’s national parks”.

Clan Currie Celebrates the Life of John Muir.
In partnership with the National Park Service, Clan Currie, along with Scottish and American dignitaries, will lead the Opening Ceremonies for a new Tartan Day exhibit.

The celebration is scheduled for Friday, April 1, 2005 at 11:00 AM. The exhibit, which is free to all visitors of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, will run into May.

Invited guests for the Opening Ceremonies include, New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, Patricia Ferguson, Scotland’s Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture, The Rt. Hon. Leslie Hinds, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, and Peter Lederer, CBE, Chairman of VisitScotland.

“We’re so grateful to Ellis Island for inviting us back for a fourth consecutive year,” said Robert Currie, president of the Clan Currie Society. “This event provides an important opportunity to recognize the vast contributions of Scots and Scottish-Americans to the development of the United States.” Currie continued, “We are especially grateful to all our sponsors and partners, especially VisitScotland for their generous support in making this exhibit possible.”

The exhibit is produced by the Clan Currie Society. Hilary Buchanan Boller, a historian with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, served as principal researcher and author. The Clan Currie Society also formed an Advisory Panel including participation from the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, CA, the John Muir Birthplace Trust in Dunbar, Scotland, the Sierra Club in San Francisco, CA and the John Muir Trust in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Clan Currie began its successful collaboration with the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 2002 in the coordination and sponsorship of the first Tartan Day celebration. Clan Currie and the National Museums of Scotland joined forces to host the traveling exhibit, “Home and Away: Highland Departures and Returns.”

The following year, Clan Currie returned to Ellis Island, bringing with them four of Scotland’s top crafters for a hands-on demonstration of their unique talents. The 2003 event was captured in the form of a documentary film entitled, “The Crafter’s Song.” Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor, Cliff Robertson, “The Crafter’s Song” is the first documentary produced in America about National Tartan Day.

The award-winning film premiered on Ellis Island as part of the 2004 Tartan Day celebration. That year, Clan Currie hosted “Loyalty & Exile: The Jacobites and America,” which examined Scots during the Jacobite era in 18th century Scotland. Clan Currie plans to screen “The Crafter’s Song” as part of the April 1 ceremonies.

About John Muir

John Muir was a powerful voice for the wilderness, and left an indelible mark on the history of this nation, a legacy that continues to this day. John Muir led a life dedicated to exploring, admiring, and preserving the American natural landscape. Wanderer, poet, inventor, explorer, accomplished author and political activist, Muir is best known for his pioneering work in the field of conservation, work that culminated in the establishment of the world’s first national park system.

Born in Dunbar, Scotland in 1838, Muir immigrated to the United States at the age of eleven and spent his adolescent years hard at work on his family’s Wisconsin farm. After leaving home at the age of twenty-two to seek his fortune as an inventor, Muir went on to embark on a life of exploration, adventure, and activism.

A contemporary of Emerson and Thoreau, John Muir spent his adult years forging and strengthening an emerging public interest in the preservation of the American wilderness. He authored fourteen books and literally hundreds of articles, each penned with an eloquent reverence for the sublime beauty of the American landscape and a sincere desire to share that love with future generations.

“The Life and Legacy of John Muir” traces his remarkable life journey from his days exploring the moors, mountains, and shoreline surrounding his childhood home in Scotland, to his lasting legacy as America’s first passionate conservationist and the father of the American national parks.

His legacy lives on in geographic names from Alaska to Florida, in Yosemite National Park, which he was instrumental in establishing in 1890, and in the Sierra Club, which he founded in 1892 and served as its first president. In 1976, the California Historical Society dubbed Muir the greatest Californian in the history of the state, and his birthday has since become a state-recognized holiday.

Most recently, the image of John Muir was chosen to appear on the newly-minted California commemorative quarter which was unveiled in January 2005.