Museum rolls out schools project

Launching their new NI Schools Outreach Programme are Julieann Campbell, Heritage & Programmes Coordinator, Museum of Free Derry, and Keith Beattie, Manager, Siege Museum. (BST)

Launching their new NI Schools Outreach Programme are Julieann Campbell, Heritage & Programmes Coordinator, Museum of Free Derry, and Keith Beattie, Manager, Siege Museum. (BST)

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In a first for the historic city of Londonderry, two very different museums will host shared school visits for post-primary pupils throughout the north.

The Museum of Free Derry and the Siege Museum are opening their doors to schools and colleges across the region, offering combined visits to each museum and a chance to learn about the city’s unique, and often contentious, history.

The innovative NI Schools Outreach Programme offers FREE admission for the first 1,500 pupils who book to visit both museums before the end of March. This will provide an ideal opportunity for pupils to visit two unique, authentic and independent museums, and gain a greater understanding of the history of Northern Ireland.

Julieann Campbell, Heritage and Programmes Coordinator at Museum of Free Derry, said: “We’re thrilled to announce the beginning of our Schools Outreach Programme. This is a very exciting time in the history of both museums and we look forward to working together to welcome younger visitors in to learn more about our past and how it reflects on our future together.

“As an educational resource, we know that these shared visits will enlighten young people, stimulate discussion and foster a greater understanding of the different traditions here,’” Campbell added.

Both facilities are within easy walking distance of the city centre and each other, which is ideal for shared visits.

The Siege Museum, situated within the city walls, is a purpose-built visitor centre dedicated to the history of the Siege of Londonderry and The Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry. Officially opened in March this year, this state-of-the-art facility offers an enlightening insight into the background of the Siege and why it occurred.

Keith Beattie, Visitor Centre & Museum Manager, Siege Museum, said “The Siege Museum is delighted to be part of this ambitious project to help young people engage with their local heritage. We see this innovative programme as a valuable opportunity to promote our city and provide pupils from across Northern Ireland with a unique experience, unlike anything they’ll receive in a classroom.”

Museum of Free Derry tells the story of the working-class community within the Bogside “who endured oppression throughout the latter part of the 20th Century, and who rose up against it”.

Established by the Bloody Sunday Trust, the museum tells the story of the civil rights movement, the creation of Free Derry, Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman.

With a major multi-million-pound redevelopment of Museum of Free Derry currently underway, the museum is temporarily located at 39 Shipquay Street within the walls, with plans to return to its Glenfada Park premises in January 2017. For more information on our innovative NI Schools Outreach Programme, contact us on: 028 71 360880 or: visits@museumoffreederry.org

The NI Schools Outreach Programme is funded by The Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Programme 2016/17