Common cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War

scottich1914This exhibition in the National Museum of Scotland will explore the stories of the Scottish diaspora and the war experiences of the nations of the Commonwealth during the First World War. In 1914, as the world prepared for war, thousands of men enlisted in Scotland. But thousands more Scots and those of Scottish descent joined up across the world, and the exhibition will show how they emphasised, adapted or in some cases downplayed their Scottish identities within the context of the armed forces of their home countries.

The exhibition will be built around key objects borrowed from the UK and international partners in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, some of the main destination countries of the Scottish diaspora. Through contemporaneous newsreel and photography and the words of participants, the exhibition will explore how the war was experienced and commemorated in different parts of the British Empire, and how military service was related to other expressions of Scottish identity and culture such as Caledonian societies, Presbyterianism and piping.

Artefacts from the collections of National Museums Scotland associated with individual war experiences will reinforce the main themes of migration, dual identity and loss, and extend the geographical scope of the exhibition.

11 July – 12 October 2014

National Museum of Scotland