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Tracing the sons and daughters of Culloden / The National Trust for Scotland

Culloden was the last battle fought in mainland Britain. Often misunderstood as a battle between the Scots and English or a religious war, the new £9 million visitor centre aims to explode the myths surrounding Culloden.

Given the bloody aftermath of the battle, and the suppression of the Highland way of life, it is still a very sensitive subject in the region. Care had to be taken on how to mark the official opening and we knew that due to construction issues we would have very little time to plan the event, once we had the go-ahead.

The Brief

To raise awareness of the replacement visitor centre at Culloden and mark its official opening. A major focus was to generate early visitors locally to trial the centre and allow the Trust to sort out any technical glitches with the state-of-the-art technology used in the new exhibition.

What We Did

  • Our solution was to launch an international search for descendants of those who fought in the battle. The winners would be invited to come and help the Trust open the new centre.
  • We launched the search at the centre using local school children and costumed characters and persuaded Dr Nick Barratt from BBC’s Who do you think you are? to provide tips for youngsters on tracing their family tree for a dedicated section of the National Trust for Scotland’s website.
  • We provided a series of stories about the search to local, national and international print and broadcast media as well as targeting Scottish diaspora websites overseas.

What We Delivered

  • We received entries from descendants from as far afield as the USA, Australia and Canada. We generated local, national and international newspaper, broadcast and internet coverage reaching an audience of over 20 million.
  • Visitor numbers to the new centre increased by 300% compared to the previous year.

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