What’s the War Got To Do With Us? – WWII and Heritage in Banff


Previous arts education work for schools developed by Aberdeenshire Council’s Cultural Co-ordinators on the Theme of World War II provided the perfect starting point to link Museums Galleries Scotland’s national project, ‘Remembering Scotland at War’.

‘What’s the War Got To Do With Us?’ engaged schools in Aberdeenshire in a multi-layered partnership brokered by the Arts Education Team. Emerging from work on the theme of WW2 around unique artefacts in the Banff area and Duff House Museum, artists and researchers were engaged to work with local schools and the community to create an exciting and informative exhibition.

Children's artwork

The project involved:

  • – 626 pupils in P6 – S2
  • – 38 teachers
  • – 1 academy and 3 primary schools
  • – 7 artists
  • – 1 researcher


The project was build upon previous arts education work and it’s purpose was:

  • – To engage pupils with the topic of World War 2 through learning in partnership with the local community, heritage groups and professional artists
  • – To deepen understanding about World War 2, the local context and the impact on modern society  as well as the local community
  • – To reveal to teachers, pupils and the community, aspects of Duff House Country Museum  that are important resources but essentially unknown
  • – To create a virtual and touring and exhibition with the potential to education more widely and for use as a future teaching and interpretive resource

To develop opportunities where children and young people would benefit from working with creative professionals to simultaneously develop skills and understanding about World War 2 and in the expressive arts

activity at Duff house


  • – Short time scale between the receiving of the grant and the activating of the project was awkward
  • – Imminent loss of Cultural Co-ordinators, who were pivotal in the project and who retain a role in the project development
  • – Some of the best material in Duff House is extremely difficult to photograph.

The Arts Education Team was instrumental in working through the challenges.

“….. Arts Education team gave me sufficient information in advance to carry out the project to the best of my ability; the staff were well prepared, welcoming and supportive; the class teacher continued to work with the children between my visits.  The pupils enjoyed bringing the past to life through movement and acting.” (Charles Barron, actor and playwright)

working together


The effects of the project were widely felt, it:

  • – Significantly raised the profile and relevance of Duff House, especially for educational purposes
  • – Raised the public awareness of the focus geographic area
  • – Gave pupils and school staff a valuable series of cultural experiences that significantly supported Curriculum for Excellence in an area that is remote from cultural hubs
  • – Raised the standard, quality and expectation of heritage and arts projects in the Banff area

“This was a great project; it fully engaged our upper stage pupils in the history of their town and gave them a useful sense of what it was like to live during those testing times. The project addressed many of the Experiences and Outcomes of the Social Studies, Expressive Arts and Technologies subject areas and helped us to ensure that our children were able to ‘learn in, about and through the unique natural, cultural and economic environment of Aberdeenshire and the North-east’- as recommended in the Aberdeenshire 3-18 Curriculum Guidelines.  It was a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to meet and work with professional artists and craftspeople and especially the researcher, Allan Burnett, who came with a knowledge and freshness that enthralled the children.”’ (Jenny Stone, Head Teacher Banff primary School)

“The knowledge that they were taking part in a joint project and that their work was going on display gave the pupils a boost and gave them more incentive.” (Violet Milne, craftmaker)



  • – Aberdeenshire Arts Education Team
  • – Museums Galleries Scotland
  • – Banff Heritage Group
  • – Boyndie Airfield Preservation Society
  • – Duff house Gallery
  • – Local citizens

Levels and stages:

  • – Second and Third levels
  • – P6 – S2


  • – Aberdeenshire Council
  • – Scottish Arts Council
  • – Heritage Lottery Fund
  • – Friends of Duff House

For More information contact:

David Atherton, Arts Education Co-ordinator (Creative Links) on 01224 665363 or email david.atherton@aberdeenshire.gov.uk


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