An Aberdeen museum has opened a replica First World War trench in hopes of teaching people about battlefield living conditions.
The Gordon Highlanders Museum has finally opened its trench to the public, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict known as the Great War.
A plan to build the replica at the Aberdeen facility was hatched after a visit to other regimental museums across the UK.
Brian Snelling, chief executive of the museum, said: “There’s a number of reasons why we wanted to have this.
“Of course, there’s the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and we wanted to give people a bit more of an insight into what Gordon Highlanders would be going through at the time, the living conditions they would have had – even though you won’t come out muddy from head to toe.
“We got the idea a few years ago when we went to the Staffordshire Regimental Museum, and we thought that it would be a tremendous addition to the north-east.”
Mr Snelling hopes it will help people to better understand what north-east soldiers would have gone through during the war.
He said: “We want them to remember the sacrifice of the soldiers from the north-east, and I think the museum generally wants to educate people to understand more the history of conflict and use that as a way to make better decisions in the future.”
The initial idea was discussed in 2016, with the process ramping up in the summer of 2017, when the first plans for the trench itself were drawn.
As well as acting as an educational tool, Mr Snelling hopes it will bring more people into the museum.
He said: “We are hoping it will increase the number of visitors that we see coming into the museum.
“Judging by some of the feedback that we’ve received, particularly on social media, that is definitely going to happen. It’s been really fantastic.”
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The trench itself may not appear as expected, the chief executive said, because it was built up as opposed to being dug into the ground.
He said: “Quite a lot of the trenches were actually built up during the war.
“There are different sections of the trench which were used to build the trench, like wood, corrugated steel and tin.
“The guides showing people around will do a really good job at bringing that to life and really explaining what it was like to be in these conditions.”
Despite the attention to detail that went along with building the structure, bosses at the museum decided that it shouldn’t be too realistic – so visitors won’t be leaving covered in mud.
While the trench represented a substantial investment of space for the museum, 75% of the financial cost was covered by outside sponsors.
The ultimate goal of the trench is to create a more immersive experience for visitors.
Mr Snelling said: “Like any other museums, we have things in cases that can’t be touched, but this is an immersive experience. You can actually go in and experience something akin to what it was like to be in the trenches.
“It’s much more than just a reading and a looking experience for visitors.”
The trench will be open alongside the museum until November.