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Next of Kin Exhibition Shares Mementos and Memories of the First World War

Next of Kin, an exhibition created by National Museums Scotland, opens on 11th November at Perth Museum & Art Gallery and the Black Watch Museum in Perth. It 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 was previously shown at the National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle, and the display will be shared between The Black Watch Castle and Museum and Perth Museum and Art Gallery as the seventh and eighth of nine touring venues around Scotland. It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government. Both venues have added material from their own collections to tell local stories which reflect the themes of the exhibition.

Perth Museum & Art Gallery will tell the story of Private Alexander Malcolm of the 6th Battalion (Perthshire Division) Black Watch who fought and was wounded at the Second Battle of Passchendale in November 1917. Alongside a selection of his personal effects will be the wallet which was in his possession at the time he was wounded and shows clear bullet damage. Although the bullet passed through the wallet, it provided enough protection to save Alexander Malcolm’s life.

The Black Watch Museum shares the legacy of Perth brothers David and William Reid who served with the 6th (Perthshire) Battalion Black Watch. The pair enlisted to fight together and their army numbers were only one digit apart. The brothers never returned from the war. The Next of Kin exhibition shares the brothers’ remembrance cards and their service medals with visitors.

Richard Mackenzie, The Black Watch Castle and Museum archivist, explains:

“As we commemorate the men and women of the British Armed Forces who served in the First World War it is also important to remember the families that these people left behind. Families eagerly scoured newspapers desperate for any news of their loved ones, and awaited the next postcard, or letter, from them. For some though what they got was the dreaded telegram informing them of the death of their son or husband. This exhibition, of which the Black Watch Castle and Museum is a proud partner, focuses on the mementos such families created and the official documents and objects given to them by a grateful nation who mourned with them in their loss.”

Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth & Kinross said:

“Hosting Next of Kin at Perth Museum and Art Gallery adds a new and poignant dimension to the memorialisation projects being carried out locally and is a key part of our season entitled Perth & Kinross Remembers. The exhibition highlights the personal, local and sometimes hidden stories around those who participated in the war both at home and abroad. Next of Kin provides an ideal platform to inspire more local research through sharing individual stories and experiences which have the greatest relevance to Perth.”

Dr Stuart Allan, Principal Curator at National Museums Scotland said:

“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 Next of Kin touring exhibition brings these stories from the National collection to people across the country and through partner museum stories provides an insight into the local impact of the war.”

The material on loan from National Museums Scotland 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.

Examples include:
• Two 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 that 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, along with his memorial plaque and service medals.
• The shell fragment which wounded Private William Dick. He kept the fragment after it was removed from his leg, but later died from the wound.

Explaining the importance of the Heritage Lottery Fund support, the Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, Lucy Casot said:

“The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has invested more than £60million in projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary.

“With our grants, we are enabling communities like those involved in the Next of Kin exhibition to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

Next of Kin forms part of a season of commemorative exhibitions and events entitled Perth & Kinross Remembers including:

Art of War (1 October 2016 – 25 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: An exhibition examining the way in which modern conflict has been documented by artists from the Victorian period to the present day. Guided tour: 30 November 2016. 1-1.30pm.
Flowers of the Forest (8-16 November) A.K. Bell: This exhibition draws on research and memorialisation projects undertaken by local community groups.
Battle of the Somme (11 November 7.30pm) Film screening with Andy Robertshaw.
The Making of War Horse (12 November 2-3pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Find out the secrets behind Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse at this talk by the film’s lead historical advisor, Andy Robertshaw.
A Bloody Business (24 November 6.30-7.45pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Join historian Mike Taylor to
discover about the modern and not-so-modern weapons carried by both sides during the Great War.

For more information on Perth & Kinross Remembers and the Next of Kin exhibition visit www.pkremembers.co.uk

War Horse Film Secrets to be Revealed

Andy Robertshaw, one of the UK’s most exciting military historians and lead advisor on the set of Steven Spielberg’s iconic film War Horse, will reveal the secrets of the film industry at an event at Perth Museum and Art Gallery next week. On Saturday 12th November from 2pm – 3pm, he will present a scintillating behind the scenes talk on how the BAFTA and Academy Award nominated film was brought together.

War Horse was released in 2011 and produced by Steven Spielberg with screenplay by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, and starred Jamie Mullan, Emily Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as well as James Bond hopeful, Tom Hiddleston. The film met with very positive reviews and was nominated for six Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and five BAFTAs.

Andy Robertshaw was lead historical consultant for the film, advising the production team on the correct and historically accurate presentation of the costumes, the sets, the activities of the actors ensuring all the details were as precise as possible. Andy’s talk will five an insight into the process of making movies and historical accuracy in the production process, as well as offering a unique behind the scenes perspective on War Horse and how it came to life on the big screen.

Advance booking is essential, admission costs £5 and tickets can be booked online at www.pkremembers.co.uk

This event forms part of a season of commemorative exhibitions and events entitled Perth & Kinross Remembers including:

Art of War (1 October 2016 – 25 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: An exhibition examining the way in which modern conflict has been documented by artists from the Victorian period to the present day. Guided tour: 30 November 2016. 1-1.30pm.

Flowers of the Forest (8-16 November) A.K. Bell: This exhibition draws on research and memorialisation projects undertaken by local community groups.

Next of Kin (11 November 2016 – 6 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: A major touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland highlighting the personal stories of soldiers and families in the First World War. Battle of the Somme (11 November 7.30pm) Film screening with Andy Robertshaw.

A Bloody Business (24 November 6.30-7.45pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Join historian Mike Taylor to discover about the modern and not-so-modern weapons carried by both sides during the Great War.

For more information on Perth & Kinross Remembers visit www.pkremembers.co.uk

Bonnie Prince Charlie keepsakes make up Jacobite exhibition at Perth Museum & Art Gallery

A display of a unique sword and targe belonging to Bonnie Prince Charlie from the collections of National Museums Scotland has now opened to the public at Perth Museum and Art Gallery and will be on display until 25 February 2017.

Touring in advance of the opening of a major Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition next summer at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the sword and the targe or Highland shield were probably gifted to Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, by James, 3rd Duke of Perth, a committed supporter of the Jacobite cause.

The display also features Jacobite objects and archival material from the Collections and Archive of Perth and Kinross Council which are cared for by Culture Perth and Kinross. As well as highlighting the role of Perthshire in the Jacobite uprisings, this display explores the figure of James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth, who was a leading Jacobite. Raised near Crieff, the Duke became lieutenant-general of the highland army and participated in the Jacobite victory at the Battle of Prestonpans before marching into England and laying siege to Carlisle Castle in 1745.

Chief Executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, Helen Smout welcomed the display saying:

“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with National Museums Scotland to bring these significant objects to Perth, highlighting their connection to the area and setting them into context with material from Perth’s own collections and archives”.

The intricately decorated sword and targe on tour from National Museums Scotland were presented to Prince Charles Edward Stuart by the Duke of Perth, while Prince Charles Edward was residing with the exiled Stuart court in Rome. The targe was rescued from Culloden battlefield in 1746 by Jacobite colonel Ewan MacPherson of Cluny and remained in his family until the twentieth century. After the defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746, the backsword was recovered and given to the Government commander, William, Duke of Cumberland.

The display also features “The Battle of Culloden” a recently acquired mid-18th century manuscript poem narrating the musings of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and fictitious conversations between The Duke of Perth, Lady Weem, The Duke of Cumberland and Major James Lockhart following the Jacobite’s brutal defeat on Culloden field.

Jenny Kinnear, Collections and Programming Manager at Culture Perth and Kinross explains:

“We are delighted to present this new acquisition to our Jacobite collection. For the first time this beautifully preserved manuscript will be made available to the public. We hope that its presence, alongside these items of local significance, will generate much thought-provoking interest from our visitors”.

The Gifts for a Jacobite Prince Exhibition forms part of a season of commemorative exhibitions and events entitled Perth & Kinross Remembers including:

Art of War (1 October 2016 – 25 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: An exhibition examining the way in which modern conflict has been documented by artists from the Victorian period to the present day. Guided tour: 30 November 2016. 1-1.30pm.

Flowers of the Forest (8-16 November) A.K. Bell: This exhibition draws on research and memorialisation projects undertaken by local community groups.

Next of Kin (11 November 2016 – 6 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: A major touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland highlighting the personal stories of soldiers and families in the First World War. Battle of the Somme (11 November 7.30pm) Film screening with Andy Robertshaw.

The Making of War Horse (12 November 2-3pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Find out the secrets behind Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse at this talk by the film’s lead historical advisor, Andy Robertshaw.

A Bloody Business (24 November 6.30-7.45pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Join historian Mike Taylor to discover about the modern and not-so-modern weapons carried by both sides during the Great War.

For more information on Perth & Kinross Remembers visit www.pkremembers.co.uk. Image: © National Museums Scotland

Art of War exhibition launches a season of remembrance for Perth and Kinross

Culture Perth & Kinross has launched an exciting season of war-themed art and events with an exhibition of war artists and photographers spanning 160 years of world conflict.

The Art of War, running until 25th February 2017 at Perth Museum & Art Gallery, features paintings, photographs and sculptures depicting everything from 19th century British Army skirmishes through to the wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan, all through the eyes of artists and photographers who witnessed war first-hand.

While some were commissioned as official war artists, other artists captured their experiences of conflict while on active service.

The exhibition includes work by figurative painter Peter Howson, renowned for his penetrating portrayals of Bosnia; Sir Muirhead Bone, the UK’s first official war artist who became a household name; Tim Hetherington, the reportage photographer and filmmaker who was killed in a mortar attack in Libya; and Aberdeen-born painter Joyce Cairns, a now Dundee-based artist influenced by the genocide in Bosnia.

The Art of War forms the beginning of Perth and Kinross Remembers, a five-month series of exhibitions and events. It includes two touring exhibitions in collaboration with National Museums of Scotland and Perth’s Black Watch Museum. A series of events will take place during the exhibitions including an exhibition tour led by Curator Amy Waugh on November 30th from 1.00-1.30pm as part of the Museum’s monthly lunchtime talk series. Tickets cost £2.00.

Other events include an opportunity for visitors to find out the secrets behind Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse and how it was made, at a talk by lead historical advisor Andy Robertshaw on Saturday 12th November at 2pm. Tickets costs £5.00. Also, there will be a film showing of the Battle of the Somme with narration by Andy Robertshaw on Friday 11th November at 7.30pm. Tickets costs £5.00.

The Art of War exhibition marks a departure from Culture Perth and Kinross’s last exhibition at Perth Museum & Art Gallery. The trust, formed in April 2016 to develop museum and library services in Perth & Kinross, saw huge success with Player: Videogame Interaction from Atari to Toys to Life, an interactive exhibition of video gaming.

Rhona Rodger, senior collections officer (art) with Culture Perth and Kinross, said:

“The Art of War features some of the UK’s, and particularly Scotland’s, finest artists. It is timely not only because Remembrance Day is approaching in the coming weeks but, sadly, because conflict is all too present in the world today.

“Perth and Kinross Remembers includes an exciting line-up of talks and exhibitions over the coming months, which we hope will help the public gain a unique perspective on war and its place both in history and in art.”

What: Art of War exhibition, runs now until 25 February 2017. Suitable for adults 16+

Where: Perth Museum & Art Gallery, George Street, Perth PH1 5LB

Cost: Free for main exhibition. Check website for additional paid-for events.

More information at: www.pkremembers.co.uk or www.pkc.gov.uk