Linlithgow... the final frontier. A three-year mission to boldly explore the unchartered territory that is the collection of memorabilia held by the family of the actor who played Scotty in Star Trek has just begun.

The celebration of one of the key crew members in the cult sci-fi series opened its doors yesterday after it was confirmed the character Montgomery Scott was born there, in stardate 2222.

The James Doohan Memorial Exhibition is expected to attract visitors from all over this world.

The display tells the story of the life of Scotty, during and after his key role as chief engineer of the USS Enterprise. It follows investigations which West Lothian Council said established Linlithgow's claims to be the "future birthplace" of the character, played by Canadian-born actor Doohan.

A slightly surreal argument between aficionados, or Trekkies, as they are known, over whether the character was born in Edinburgh or Linlithgow was ended by the Doohan family who agreed the engineer had been born in the West Lothian town.

According to the local authority, it has been found that several scripts from Star Trek suggest Doohan's popular character was born in Linlithgow.

With two dozen or so exhibits in a small room in the town's Annet House Museum, its curator, Alan Young, admits there is not much, erm, space. But he says the items are of interest.

They include an original dilithium crystal, a model of the first Enterprise, and a Tribble, a small furry alien character.

Wall placards reveal facts such as the origin of Spock's greeting, Live Long and Prosper, which it is revealed is a Jewish benediction by a rabbi to the faithful.

Mr Young said: "There is also a large model of the Enterprise built by Dr David Campbell of Heriot-Watt University which is an effective piece. I am told from the Trekkie point of view, the dilithium crystals and the tribble are the two things which they would think is super.

"We have already been getting inquiries and within the Trekkie community there is a growing interest.

"We have the material from the Doohans for up to the next three years so depending on the popularity of it, it could run until then."

West Lothian Provost Tom Kerr added: "I am extremely confident the exhibition will attract visitors from all over the world and help boost tourism in Linlithgow and West Lothian.

"James Doohan's widow Wendy and son Chris have given it their full support and they have confirmed they plan to come to Linlithgow in September to unveil a commemorative plaque.

"It is an exhibition which is most likely to grow over the years. Star Trek enthusiasts will get a warm welcome in West Lothian."