Our Museum Studies students tell us about a recent research trip to the Black Watch Museum for their exhibition:
‘In March a group of students visited the Black Watch Museum in Perth to meet with Hope Busak, the curator of the museum. A group of students interested in the first half of the twentieth century, Amanda, Miranda, and Emily, were hoping to see some new ways to display and explore the World Wars in our upcoming exhibition. Jo, Kelcy, Leston, and Kalyn also tagged along to learn more!
Hope took us on a tour of the museum, which details the history of the Black Watch regiment from its formation in 1739 to the present day. Hope and one of the volunteer guides told us some great stories about the Black Watch and Scottish warriors in general. This provided some great inspiration for our own exhibition and there was definitely some envy over one of the cases full of swords! Amanda, Miranda, and Emily particularly enjoyed the different and unique ways the museum displayed military medals and that the exhibition included a world map just like the one we would like to have in our exhibition!
We all enjoyed hearing about both sides of the Scottish warrior; the fearsome soldier and the humanitarians that gave food to Russian soldiers during the Crimean War. One of the stories Hope told us was of the first documented instance of “women and children first.” The Black Watch soldiers were on a ship with several of the wives and children when it hit some rocks and half the life boats were crushed. They evacuated the women and children while the men stood at attention on the deck as the ship sank. The Black Watch museum has two silver pitchers from the ship as one of the officer’s wives grabbed them and hid them in her dress as they evacuated. According to Hope, the Black Watch wouldn’t consider such as action theft – it was using her initiative!
We were also lucky enough to get a quick tour of their collection. Having all visited the University’s museum collection we enjoyed seeing another example of how collections are organised and stored. One piece of collections advice that we took from this was to check inside objects as you never know what you might find; the Black Watch staff had opened a military drum and discovered signatures from the soldiers inside!
Visiting the Black Watch was a great day trip and we got a whole host of ideas for our exhibition. Keep and eye on the blog for more trips and behind the scenes posts and check out #UoAScottishWarrior on social media for more!