We are introducing a new display area in the Wee Museum of Memory which will focus on a particular theme each month. The themes, and objects to support them, will be selected by different members of staff or volunteer to reflect their personal interests in the topic or the objects themselves.
This month’s theme was chosen by one of our volunteers Hayley, who has been helping Naomi with the collections, in particular the Queen Edinburgh Project. Hayley is studying history at the University of Stirling and has been voluteering with us for some months. The objects that Hayley has selected all relate to youth organisations such as Guiding and the Boys’ Brigade. She was herelf involved with Guiding for many years, from Rainbows, to Brownies, Guides, and then as a Young Leader with a Rainbow group.
We have quite a lot of material culture related to these organisations in the our collections which has been donated over the years, including: uniforms, hats, belts, badges, books, and programmes.
Hayley has chosen a Brownie Uniform from the 1970s which shows a yellow cross-over tie with a white metal trefoil badge. The girl who wore this uniform was in the Imps and was a sixer. She was also awarded quite a few merit or proficiency badges. The Girl Guide
uniform is older – from the early 1960s – with the traditional pale blue triangular scarf folded into a neck tie and pinned with a white metal trefoil badge. The donor also gained a few proficiency badges including laundress, child nurse, and cook.
Merit or proficiency badges were a key element of youth organisations and we have a board with all the badges that were awarded to May, one of our regular visitors. May was at boarding school in Dollar and was in 1st Dollar B. Company. She was in the Nightingale patrol, and gained seventeen proficiency badges, including fitness, gymnast, cyclist, hiker, country dancer, reader, cook and needlewoman. These badges sum up well what we learned about May in later years: she was a very active lady who had trained as a physio, she liked cooking and was an excellent needlewoman who also knitted and crocheted – she taught some of us how to do both, although we never managed to reach her level of skill.
Hayley also selected a few objects about the Boys’ Brigade from our collection – notably a Pill Box hat which many will associate with the BBs – a leather belt with a yellow metal buckle, and an arm band with some metal proficiency badges including: Leadership, Physical, Adventure, and Interests. The selection of badges we have here is from the later twentieth century, possibly the 1980s.
Many key youth organisations started in the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and are still going today. They have had to adapt and evolve over the years, responding to changes in social habits and preferences. The display that Hayley has chosen reflects some of the changes in uniforms between the 1960s and 1980s, but also highlights that offering opportunities and developing skills for young people is still important for all of these organisations. The display demonstrates our ethos at the Wee Museum of Memory: to reflect lived experiences and living memories of social history through the twentieth century, for all ages, young and old.
Pop in and share your memories…perhaps you remember or took part in The Gang Show which was a yearly event at the King’s Theatre?