Family keepsakes make up touching exhibition in time for Remembrance Day

11th November 2016

War’s effect on the families and communities of those who go to battle are the subject of a touching new exhibition at Perth Museum & Art Gallery.

Launched to a collection of VIPs and press on Friday 11th November, Armistice Day, Next of Kin is part of a touring exhibition organised by Culture Perth and Kinross in association with National Museums Scotland. It presents a picture of Scotland during the First World War through treasured keepsakes from relatives of those who served. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government, Next of Kin also features two local stories, of a soldier and nurse who served.

Private Alexander Malcolm, a member of the 6th Battalion (Perthshire Division) Black Watch, was saved by a wallet he had in his possession at the time he was wounded. A bullet passed through the wallet but provided enough protection to save his life.

Also included in the exhibition, part of a five-month series of events and exhibitions called Perth and Kinross Remembers, is an autograph book owned by Jenny MacKay, a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment based at Perth Red Cross Hospital. The book features grateful messages from the soldiers she treated.

Next of Kin, which runs until 6th February 2017 in association with The Black Watch Museum, will be launched by Perthshire Provost Liz Grant and will be followed by a screening of a digitally restored version of the historic 1916 documentary The Battle of the Somme. Next of Kin previously appeared in Huntly, Dumfries and Hawick. On the following day, Saturday November 12th, a First World War Conference hosted by author and broadcaster Trevor Royle will take place at AK Bell Library in Perth from 10 am to 5 pm.

Nicola Cowmeadow, Local History Officer with Culture Perth and Kinross, said:

“Next of Kin coincides with Perth and Kinross Remembers’ First World War one-day conference which will showcase research done by community groups, historical societies, schools and individuals who are commemorating the Great War with the support of Culture Perth and Kinross, libraries and archives.

“Hosting Next of Kin at Perth Museum & Art Gallery gives an additional dimension to the ongoing memorialisation projects being carried out locally. 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.

“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.”

What: Next of Kin, organised by Culture Perth and Kinross in association with National Museums Scotland

When: Launched 5.45pm on Friday 11th November, 2016

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

Extra information: The public will have access at 7.30pm to see the Battle of the Somme film. Tickets cost £5.00.

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