'The Covering Party', by Lance Corporal Joseph Adam, 1918

National Museums Scotland unveils First World War Centenary programme

Posted on centenarynews.com on 01 January 2014
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National Museums Scotland has announced its First World War Centenary programme.

The programme includes exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland and the National War Museum, a national touring exhibition, participation in a UK-wide learning project with young people and a series of public events for adults and young people.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop Member of the Scottish Parliament said:

“These exhibitions will give people across Scotland the opportunity to learn about how World War One changed Scotland and the wider world forever. It is especially important that the younger generation are able to learn about these life-changing events and that they have the opportunity to know the depth of human fortitude and sacrifice that took place.”

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland said:

“The First World War affected millions of Scots, whether at home or in service, and people of Scottish descent all over the world. Behind the bare statistics of war, there are countless individual stories of heroism and loss, triumph and tragedy. Many of the objects in our collection are deeply linked to these stories and individuals, and provide a tangible link to events which, a century on, have passed from living memory. Our programme of commemoration will share the Scottish memory of these world-changing events with national and international visitors.”


Common Cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War, at the National Museum of Scotland (11th July - 12th October 2014)

The exhibition will explore the stories of the "Scottish diaspora" and the different experiences of the conflict endured by the nations of the Commonwealth during the First World War.

It will consider how Scots and those of Scottish descent enlisted at home and abroad, including how they emphasised, adapted or in some cases downplayed their Scottish identities within the context of the armed forces of their home countries.

The exhibition will be built around key objects borrowed from the UK and international partners in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, some of the main destination countries of the Scottish diaspora.

Through contemporaneous newsreel and photography and the words of participants, the exhibition will explore how the war was experienced and commemorated in different parts of the British Empire, and how military service was related to other expressions of Scottish identity and culture such as Caledonian societies, Presbyterianism and piping.

Next of Kin Exhibition

The exhibition Next of Kin will begin at the National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle (April 2014 – March 2015) before touring around Scotland until 2018.

It will focus on personal memories of the conflict through the National Museums’s collections and the "human cost" of the First World War.

A selection of objects which were used by families to "cope with the absence and loss of their loved ones",  will be displayed, with the objective of presenting "a portrait of Scotland at war, where the private lives of Scottish families will introduce some of the major themes and events of the conflict across the fighting fronts and its aftermath".

Next of Kin will tour eight venues around Scotland and will be accompanied by digital and learning resources. As the exhibition tours, the venues will develop additional content and stories related to their local areas. The results of these additional contributions will be documented and preserved in an online resource. There will also be an associated training programme to develop new skills among the participating organisations.

National Memory - Local Stories

The learning project National Memory – Local Stories (Autumn 2013- Autumn 2014) is part of a UK-wide project working with groups of young people in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery in London.

National Museums Scotland will work with up to 20 high school pupils and an artist (to be identified). They will use the collections of National Museums Scotland as a focus for the development of their personal response to issues raised by the centenary.


In 2018, the Centenary of the end of the war will be marked with an exhibition at the National War Museum exploring the story of Poppies, the symbol of remembrance as well as a means of raising funds for ex-Service personnel.

In addition to the special exhibitions and learning project described above, National Museums Scotland will also develop a programme of lectures, events and activities for schools and the public about the First World War. This programme will be focused at the National War Museum, the National Museum of Scotland and the National Museum of Flight.

Source: National Museums Scotland

Images courtesy of National Museum Scotland

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News

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