The John Buchan Story Museum – Peebles, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

The John Buchan Story Museum

A small literary museum remembers the life and works of the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps.  


This modest museum in the Scottish Borders celebrates local hero John Buchan, best known as the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. 

First published as a serial in 1915, this best-selling adventure novel has been adapted for the screen four times (the first version directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935), and has also been adapted into a successful stage show and even a video game. Buchan wrote the novel while he was bed ridden, naming it after something his young daughter said. The novel itself was a thriller starring an investigator character that would go on to become a recurring protagonist for Buchan.  

In addition to The Thirty-Nine Steps Buchan wrote or edited almost 100 more books, and also served as Governor General for Canada, signing the Canadian declaration of war against Germany. While the museum focuses on his most famous work, these other aspects of his life are put on display there as well, creating a well-rounded image of a man that is usually best known for a single work. The museum also features exhibits on Buchan’s family, including his sister Anna, who, under the pen name O. Douglas, was also a successful novelist.

Since 1983 the museum has been raising awareness of Buchan’s life and work and today, it continues to paint a fascinating picture of one of Scotland’s most popular writers.

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April 7, 2016

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