Next of Kin, a new exhibition at the National War Museum
, presents a picture of Scotland during the First World War through treasured objects from official and private sources, passed to close relatives and down through generations.
The exhibition will run at the National War Museum until March 2015, before going on tour to eight venues around Scotland Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire, the Borders, South Lanarkshire, Grampian, Perth, the Highlands and Orkney - thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government.
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: Objects which were once kept as a way of remembering individual loved ones have been brought together so we can all remember the impact the war had on families and communities across Scotland. As it travels the country, people will have the opportunity to add their own story to this exhibition making sure that their heritage is safeguarded for future generations while giving us a deeper understanding of the conflict.
The First World War separated millions of people worldwide from their families and homes. The impact of the conflict was felt by families and communities in every part of Scotland as individuals served in the war in different ways.
For those who experienced the conflict, keeping objects was a way of remembering this extraordinary period in their lives, or coping with the absence and loss of their loved ones.
The exhibition looks in detail at eight individual stories which both typify and illustrate the wider themes and impact of the War on servicemen and women and their families back home in Scotland.
Objects include postcards and letters, photographs, medals and memorial plaques.
Three autograph books in which Nurse Florence Mellor collected drawings, watercolours, verses, jokes and messages from the wounded soldiers in her care at Craiglockhart War Hospital.
The pocket New Testament which Private James Scouller was carrying the day he died at Cambrai in 1917, returned to his family by a German soldier on the eve of the Second World War.
Drawings and postcards by Henry (Harry Hubbard), an architectural draughtsman in Glasgow who contracted illnesses so severe that he ended up spending 16 months in hospital.
The last letter home from George Buchanan, Seaforth Highlanders, a railway plate-layer from Bathgate who was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Loos.
As the exhibition tours, the host venues will develop additional content using their own objects and stories related to their respective local areas. The results of these additional contributions will be captured and preserved in the exhibition displays and an online resource. There will also be an associated training programme to develop new skills among the participating organisations, as well as a learning resource and associated events programme held at each venue. Dr Stuart Allan, Principal Curator of Scottish History, said:
This exhibition commemorates and illustrates the impact of the First World War on many thousands of Scots both in service and back home in Scotland. It is also a vivid illustration of the fact that objects, whether theyre in a museum, or in someones attic or drawer, are not just things. They can tell us a great deal, both about the stories of the individuals they were immediately associated with and also the times in which they lived.
The exhibition is one of several activities in National Museums Scotlands programme as part of wider national and international commemorations led by the First World War Centenary Partnership.