In 2012, and following years, we will see the marking of anniversaries of key twentieth century events which shook nations and transformed lives.
Ireland witnessed the move for and against Home Rule, the First World War, the Easter Rising, the War of Independence/Anglo-Irish War, Partition, civil war and the establishment of the border.
A timely joint exhibition is being held at Enniskillen Castle Museums and The Tower Museum in Derry/ Londonderry. The exhibition - Connection & Division 1910 - 1930 explores the impact of the wider events on the local landscape of the north western region of Ireland.
Highlighting hidden histories of people who lived through the upheavals, Connection & Division seeks to challenge some of the preconceptions of the period held today.
The exhibition provides an introduction rather than a comprehensive survey. It tells the story of the times through collections acquired by Derry City Council Heritage & Museum Service, the Inniskillings Museum and Fermanagh County Museum Service, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The exhibition and events are the result of partnership between the three Museums, with input from the University of Ulster (Dr Elizabeth Crooke and Dr James Loughlin).
Speaking about the exhibitions, Sarah McHugh, Manager of Fermanagh County Museum Service, said:
“This project has been a great way to develop the museum’s collections of this important period of our history. The joint approach between our three museums has benefited us all and hopefully everyone who visits the exhibition can see how people were affected by the great upheavals of this period.”
Craig McGuicken, Curator of Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, said:
“This project has been a wonderful opportunity to increase our collections and knowledge of this period of history. The outreach work we performed with local communities was so worthwhile. It was fascinating to see that the history of this period still resonates so strongly today.”
Mark Scott, Trustee with The Inniskillings Museum, said:
“This has been a great opportunity to see our military story in a wider context set against the great political and social events of the day. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and this partnership approach by Fermanagh County Museum, Derry City Council Heritage & Museum Service and ourselves, we have collected some fine objects and new stories, which illustrate how individual soldiers responded to the great events of 1910-1930.”
Dr Elizabeth Crooke, University of Ulster, whose students carried out a series of research projects as part of this partnership, said:
“We were delighted to participate in this important project. It enabled students on the museum studies programme to gain valuable experience of the workplace and undertake research that informed the final exhibition.”
Paul Mullan, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for Northern Ireland, commented:
“HLF is delighted with the continued outcomes of the Connection and Division project. This project is an excellent example of what we had aimed to achieve through our Collecting Cultures grant programme which provided funding to encourage museums to work in partnership, strengthen their collections and engage with a wider range of people. We congratulate all the partners on the innovative and dynamic work undertaken through this project.”
The exhibition continues at Enniskillen Castle Museums & the Tower Museum Derry/ Londonderry until June 30th.