1914 brought war to Scotland on what would prove to be an unprecedented scale. This touring exhibition reveals the personal stories of separation and loss experienced by Scottish families and by communities with loved ones fighting abroad.

About the exhibition

The First World War separated millions of people worldwide from their families and homes. The impact of the conflict was felt by communities in every part of Scotland as family members fought across the fronts and news of losses were received.

For the servicemen and women who experienced the conflict first-hand, keeping objects was a way of remembering this extraordinary period in their lives. Families coped with the loss of their loved ones by collecting and cherishing these souvenirs along with postcards, letters and photographs sent home and official presentations such as service medals and memorial plaques.

Through a selection of these family keepsakes, Next of Kin: Scottish Families and the Great War presents a portrait of Scotland at war, where the private lives of Scottish families introduce some of the themes and events of the conflict across the fighting fronts.

Tour schedule

The display is touring nine museums in Scotland until May 2017, with each venue adding new, local content.

Local stories

Next of Kin in Perth is being displayed across two venues: Perth Museum and Art Gallery and the Black Watch Museum. Between them their local family stories convey the huge sacrifice of communities in the region during the First World War.  

Above: Alexander Malcolm and his wife Grace, 1917. © Perth Museum & Art Gallery

Private Alexander Malcolm of the 6th Battalion (Perthshire Division) Black Watch fought and was wounded at the Second Battle of Passchendale in November 1917. On display are a selection of his personal effects including the wallet that saved his life by slowing the bullet that wounded him.

Above: Nurse Jenny MacKay (front centre) with staff and patients at Perth War Hospital. © Perth Museum & Art Gallery.

Student Jenny MacKay joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) after graduating and became a nurse at the Perth War Hospital. Items on display include her VAD apron and autograph book.

Above: David (left) and William Reid (right) on the front of their remembrance card. © The Black Watch Museum.

Perth brothers David and William Reid 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.

Inside the exhibition

The slideshow below shows the display at the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

Supported by

National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund  Scottish Government (1)

Part of

First World War Centenary led by the Imperial War Museum WW100 Scotland


Silk embroidered postcard sent by Private William Dick to his wife in November 1915.

Next of Kin: Family mementoes of the First World War

Explore treasured artefacts passed down through generations, providing a personal insight into the lives of those at home and on the front lines.