World War One workshops at Dumfries Museum

Young visitors to Dumfries Museum during the Easter break have been learning more about World War One at workshops associated with the Next of Kin exhibition.

Artist Hugh Bryden and museum staff encouraged visitors to look at World War One souvenirs in the exhibition and a handling collection and then create their own art works. On the 7 April the workshop focussed on Princess Mary tins and trench art and on 14 April the workshop was inspired by a beautiful pin cushion made as a gift.

During the week beginning 27 April free interactive workshops are available to local schools. A century after Britain went to war we now, with hindsight, know the full horror of the years between 1914 and 1918. In August 1914 the young men who rushed to join up to fight for King and Country saw things very differently. It was exciting. There were opportunities to travel with your pals and to have free food and clothing. No one wanted to miss out.

By spring 1915 the horror of war was reaching home through personal letters and reports in local newspapers. It could be seen on news reels in the town’s cinema. Still, more soldiers and nurses were needed and recruitment continued

At Dumfries Museum pupils can meet a member of the recruitment committee who will put them through their paces and the matron from the local World War One Auxiliary Hospital will describe how Voluntary Aid Nurses were trained and what they were expected to do.

The workshops will be run by costumed interpreters Jackie and Chris Lee from Artemis Scotland Ltd, a historical interpretation business based in Moniaive in Dumfries and Galloway. There are still workshops available to book and teachers are invited to contact Dumfries Museum on 01387 253374 to take up this unique opportunity.

Councillor Tom McAughtrie, Chair of the Council’s Community and Customer Services commented; “It is important that we learn the lessons of the past and events like these are a hands-on way for museum visitors to appreciate the impact of World War One on previous generations. Whilst the workshops for school classes will be both practical and fun, they will also introduce the children to a very serious subject.”

Museums Officer Fiona Wilson said: “World War One is a difficult topic, but we are providing hands on workshops and interactive experiences which offer learning opportunities for all ages and give people alternative ways to approach this subject.”

The Next of Kin exhibition and associated workshops are supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government.