Drawing exclusively on the University of Aberdeen's historic collections, the exhibition explores the political, religious and economic factors that helped create the new kingdome of Great Britain, a process which was far from inevitable and not particularly popular, north or south of the border. Union between Scotland and England was proposed on numerous occasions, and in various forms, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Union of the Crowns in 1603, under James VI & I, offered one solution, although ongoing political instability undermined the authority of the Stuart dynasty.
For much of the seventeenth century it was the Scots rather than the English who advocated the idea of union. In the early 1700s, however, political developments at home and changes in the European balance of power persuaded England's leaders of the need for union with the Scots. English and Scottish anxieties over the Protestant nature of the monarchy, allied to a Scottish desire for access to England's economy, finally secured the Union of Parliaments in 1707.
The exhibition also examines the divisive impact of these developments on the burghs of Aberdeen, including both colleges (King's and Marischal), before concluding with the final victory of the Union settlement through the destruction of the Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746.