Conflict Artefacts Wanted for Museum 'War Boxes'

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), November 21, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Conflict Artefacts Wanted for Museum 'War Boxes'


Byline: Ian Starrett

Museum workers in Londonderry want people who were in the city in the wartime years to get in touch.

IAN STARRETT explains why

DERRY City Council want local people to rummage through their attics for wartime memorabilia. Or perhaps there's some artefact of World War Two that they have at home that they'd like to share with others.

Pensioners in Londonderry remember the years 1939-1945 as heady times when thousands of international soldiers, on the Allied side, were based in the city on the River Foyle.

Indeed, Winston Churchill was to loudly and highly praise Londonderry's significant role in the Battle of the Atlantic, where it was the most strategic western port.

Now, Derry City Council's Museum Services are appealing for members of the public to give any interesting artefacts they may have relating to the wartime years in Londonderry for their unique Museum in a Box project.

Last month, the Museum Services secured pounds 3,000 for this project.

The Museum In A Box project will produce six themed boxes of artefacts which they hope will stimulate active enquiry into historical evidence.

Derry City Council say that anyone with items of interest should be prepared to give them to the Tower Museum, not lend them.

The boxes will contain real artefacts, with each object having its own place, together with laminated activity sheets.

The boxes are designed to be used in the classroom in a workshop setting accompanied by Derry City Council's education officer. The boxes will also be available to family groups and for life-long learning work in various museums from spring 2003.

Curator of museums Harriet Purkis explained that items such as gas masks, ration books, helmets, identity cards, dance hall programmes or dresses and clothes from the 1930s and 40s would be of great interest to them.

She is also interested in hearing any stories relating to smuggling during the 1930s and 40s for inclusion in this unique outreach project.

Anyone interested in donating any items or speaking to someone about their experiences of wartime years in Londonderry are asked to contact the city's Harbour Museum, on 028 71 377331.

Harriet explained that the aim of the project is to show history can be fun and interesting and to let people look closely at artefacts while trying their hand at being historians and learning how historical evidence is preserved and interpreted in the museum.

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Conflict Artefacts Wanted for Museum 'War Boxes'
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