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Mayor welcomes official opening of Museum of Free Derry

16 June 2017

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor MaolĂ­osa McHugh has welcomed the officially opening of the Museum of Free Derry at a launch event on Thursday 15th June.

The centre was officially opened on 15th June, (seven years to the day of the delivery of the Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry), by US civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr and Fiachra McGuinness, son of the late Martin McGuinness.

The £2.4m redevelopment project, designed by Brennan Associates, opened to the public in February 2017 and has welcomed upwards of 12,000 visitors to the new premises. Funding was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland and was administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, the Department for Communities, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Urban Villages and Iona Enterprises.

The Mayor said, “I would like to commend the Bloody Sunday Trust for their work over the years promoting human rights, conflict transformation and an understanding between people both nationally and internationally. Their work in the development of the Museum of Free Derry has provided not only a place of historical significance for the city but also a place that holds the voice of the people in the telling of their story.

“Council was pleased support this project, alongside The Bloody Sunday Trust and its co-funders as a means to not only develop tourism and the economy of the city but also as a way to help build on our shared future as a community. As the first museum to deal directly with ‘The Troubles’ it is pivotal to leading the way forward from conflict and healing hurt through remembrance and reconciliation. It has to date drawn visitors from all sections of our communities and from throughout the world, providing a unique offering to local groups, education groups and those visiting the city and district.”
The new museum, tells the history of the city and the civil rights movement, hosts a full multi-media exhibition on the civil rights and early conflict era in the city, enhanced visitor facilities and education and research facilities.

Bloody Sunday Trust Chairperson Robin Percival said: “We are all thrilled to officially open the new Museum of Free Derry after a hugely successful first few months in our flagship building. While it has been a long and hard road, we are proud to be back in the heart of the Bogside, where so much of our story happened. Indeed, our enhanced exhibition space has been hailed as a powerful, unforgettable experience for thousands of local, national and international visitors. We are proud to have it opened by Jesse L. Jackson Sr, one of the most respected civil rights campaigners in our lifetimes, and by Fiachra McGuinness, in place of his late father Martin, who did so much as Deputy First Minister to help us make this museum a reality.’

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank all who helped in the creation of the new museum, the design team for all their work, and our funders who made this all possible. We would also like to thank local residents of the Bogside and all the families and supporters who have helped make this museum one of the city’s most important visitor experiences.’

For further information on the Museum of Free Derry visit www.museumoffreederry.org.

ENDS

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