As some of the soldiers in our ‘There But Not There’ installation already feature in our main galleries, we decided to try and represent all of the 8,960 Black Watch soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War. To remember these men we created and produced a panel displaying their names. This panel was placed behind the 13th silhouette marking their sacrifice.
The search for artefacts, pictures and stories for the exhibition was a moving experience. We wanted to evoke the spirit of ‘There But Not There’ through pictures and paintings of the fallen men alongside objects that belonged to them. Photographs, books, letters and poetry were selected for display to highlight how families remembered their loved ones through the items they kept.
For me one of most poignant objects in the exhibition is the tiny razor kept by the family of George Kidd, an everyday item which took on such significance for them. Another interesting object is the collection of poems written by Second Lieutenant Hamish Mann and published privately by his family following his death in 1917.
To encourage our visitors to reflect on the impact their visit had on them we provided the opportunity to write letters and messages to soldiers. The responses have been incredibly thought-provoking. One young visitor has written, “Dear soldier, you were very brave in World War One and your courage was great.” Another, from an adult visitor, reads, “Words are not enough to show our respect.”
The installation and accompanying exhibition runs until Sunday 11th November 2018.
Fiona Connah, Museum Assistant