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1914 brought war to Scotland on what would prove to be an unprecedented scale. This touring exhibition revealed 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 presented 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

Between 2015 and 2017, the display toured nine museums in Scotland, with each venue adding new, local content.

Next of Kin Tour Manual

A comprehensive tour manual was developed, providing a step-by-step best practice guide to planning, promoting and delivering the Next of Kin exhibition and associated learning programme. The manual can be downloaded and its content adapted by organisations planning similar projects.

Download tour manual

Local stories

Two striking First World War family stories from the Orkney Islands are being told at the Orkney Museum exhibition, opening on 18 February 2017:


Above: Caldale air station, Orkney, c.1920.

Servicemen working at the Caldale air station near Kirkwall befriended the Clouston Family who treated the men to produce at their local farm. A signed tablecloth and two autograph books were left as cherished souvenirs of their visit.


Above: Stanley Cubiss, from a photograph preserved by his widow Flo. © Orkney Library & Archive.

Able Seaman Stanley Cubiss was killed when his ship sailed into cliffs on the Orkney coast. His widow Florence made a personal pilgrimage from Yorkshire to visit the spot where her husband died.

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.
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