The 26Treasures project at the National Museum of Scotland is coming to a close, but will live on in the subsequent Unbound book. It was a great honour and pleasure to be a part of it. The response to my piece on The Piper of Loos was unexpectedly effusive and emotional.
I knew I was dealing with a sensitive issue, but didn’t know feelings still run so strong. An additional pleasure was meeting Laidlaw family members whose approval was important to me and most welcome. Thank you.
My piece was displayed, white text on a striking blue background, alongside the Piper of Loos installation in a quiet corner of the 3rd floor of the museum. A QR code was included for scanning by smartphone, so that you could have the dubious pleasure of hearing me reading the piece.
As a note of explanation, the list of names are the men of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers regiment that died on the day that Laidlaw earned his VC.
UPDATE: The National Museum of Scotland has put all of the 26Treasures pieces and accompanying audio online, including “Victoria Cross”. Here’s me reading the piece:[audio http://audioboo.fm/boos/660014-victoria-cross-boo.mp3]
And here’s Stuart Allan, Senior Curator at the Museum, and me having a chat about the process of developing the piece. Please excuse my bad hair and background rabble, there were some serious sandwiches to contend with!
Museum visitors could follow a 26Treasures trail that led them around the featured objects. If the idea was to draw people into areas they perhaps wouldn’t normally visit, to engage with the less seen artefacts, then it seemed to be working. While there for only a few minutes one weekday afternoon, I saw at least three groups following the trail, including two excited Japanese women who were photographing themselves at each 26Treasures station.
Here’s some of the 26Treasures literature for you to keep: