Heritage and Museum Service Events April – September 2013
With the UK City of Culture year well underway Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service has organised a diverse series of events and activities to ensure the both locals and visitors enjoy the unique experience of the Museum Service.
The Tower Museum has unveiled a new exhibition displaying the significant Neolithic artifacts excavated at Thornhill, detailing how ancient life in the city would have been six thousand years ago.
In the mid 1990s the Templemore Archaeology Society discovered an extensive scatter of flint items in the area opposite the old school. In 2000 when the new Thornhill College was under construction the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency carried out an excavation of the area.
Thousands of artifacts were uncovered during the excavation including stone and axe fragments, quartz, flint and stone tools, beads, saddle querns and pottery fragments. These findings confirm evidence of a substantial Early Neolithic Stone Age village site of international significance. The public may already be aware of the Thornhill bead which was used to promote the heritage and history of our ancient city in the City of Culture Voices film, the bead - an article which is believed to be Derry’s earliest record of ornamental adornment and creativity is a momentous find.
The exhibition, which is a partnership between the Heritage and Museum Service and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, runs until the end of April 2013.
Sikh Fortress Turban - A British Museum Spotlight Loan Supported through the ArtFund Prize
Tower Museum 2 May - 28 July 2013
The exhibition is part of the UK City of Culture events and is the first of what is hoped to be a series of loans from the British Museum as part of their ‘Spotlight Loans’ programme. The exhibition programme will include a series of events and activities to enable visitors to learn more about Sikhism, explore the importance of the turban as a symbol of identity and understand their cultural practices in today’s society.
The magnificent turban is a rare example of a distinct type known as a dastaar boonga, literally meaning a ‘towering fortress’. This style of turban was worn by a group of Sikhs called ‘Akali Nihangs’. These skilled warriors used this type of turban to hold their weapons, including daggers, swords and deadly throwing discs. Some Akali Nihangs still wear this type of turban today as a symbolic representation of this tradition.
The cloth in the original turban is now so fragile that Museum experts have had to use new fabric to display the weapons and badge. Members of the Sikh community, working closely with the Museum’s experts, have reconstructed how it would have looked using traditional tying techniques and 37 metres of cloth.
The Sikh presence in Ireland dates back to the 1930s, when young Sikh men from the villages of Punjab (India) came to Northern Ireland in search of work. Early Sikh immigrants settled in the city, working as peddlers, selling cloths door to door in nearby towns. In 1995 with the help of locals, the Sikh community opened its first Gurdwara – the Sikh place of worship.
The Sikh Fortress Turban will tour to five other UK venues including Birmingham, Coventry, Bradford, Leicester and Sunderland.
PEACE III Plantation to Partition exhibition – June
An exhibition looking at the heritage of the last 300 years from the Plantation of Ulster to the Partition of Ireland
Plantation Process, People, Perspectives Exhibition - June 2013 - until 2015
In 1613 James I issued a new charter to the city and to mark this anniversary and the building of the city walls a new exhibition has been created as part of the re-opening of the Guildhall. It deals with the events leading up to the Plantation and the legacy.
The Glass Album - July – Sept
Tower Museum and other venues
Exhibition of the original James Glass album, the 19th century Derry photographer, in association with County Donegal Museum and Archives, and National Museums Northern Ireland
Fleadh Exhibition – August
To mark the arrival of the All Ireland Fleadh to the city a travelling exhibition from Cavan County Museum celebrating Irish music and culture
A History of Derry in 100 objects – September – December
Tower Museum and other venues
An exhibition outlining the history of Derry in 100 objects because every object has a story to tell. The Heritage & Museum Service has a collection of over 10,000 objects and archives which richly illustrate the unique heritage of the city. For this exhibition we will be inviting members of the public, communities, schools, businesses and history groups to contribute to the selection of objects to tell our city and regions’ history. The exhibition will feature a trail of objects in selected venues across the city.
Talks and Events
Spring lecture Series - Archive and Genealogy Collections
Series of monthly lectures focusing on archive and genealogy collections with speakers from PRONI, UHF and Linen Hall Library
Sources for studying the Ulster Plantation by Dr William Roulston - 25 April
This talk will highlight and explain records including port books, muster rolls, estate papers, plantation surveys and maps. Information on where these can be found along with revealing the experiences of both native and newcomer of the time.
Genealogical collections in the Linen Hall Library by John Killen - 30 May
The oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library on the island of Ireland. Librarian John Killen will speak about the Linen Hall Library whilst focusing on its genealogical collection and its Derry connections. Founded in 1778 it is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection.
Annual Colmcille events - June
Bernard Meehan, Head of Manuscripts, from Trinity College Dublin Library - book launch
Dr Brian Lacey will give a talk and launch his new book on Medieval Derry
Historic Atlas – June
Launch of the Digitisation of the Historic Atlas project in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy Dublin and Queens University Belfast
PEACE III Plantation to Partition Celebration Event – 27th June
An event which will showcase the PEACE III Plantation to Partition programme through film, music and drama
Island Voices - September – November 2013
A series of lunch time talks exploring the languages of English, Irish and Ulster Scots within the context of our shared heritage and how language conveys a sense of place and belonging
European Heritage Open Days – 14 September
Visit the Tower Museum, Workhouse Museum and the Foyle Valley Railway Museum as part of the weekend open days.
Archaeology Month - June
Events in partnership with Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Master class with Philip Armstrong – 1st June
Tower Museum - 11 am – 3pm
Join Artist Philip Armstrong from Paint the Past to find out more about his work and painting historic reconstructions. Have the opportunity to try one yourself – must be pre booked as numbers are limited.
Derry City Walls Tour - 15 June 11am and 2 pm
Walking tours with Ruairi O Baoill, Archaeologist with Queens University Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork and author of “The Archaeology of Derry City and its Environs”
Meet at the Tower Museum and tour lasts approx 90 mins
Launch of new Guide Cards for the city walls and booklet
Date to be confirmed
Series of community archaeological digs will take this place this year in the city area in partnership with Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Queens University Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork
Prehen House – June
Elagh Castle – August
Bishop Street car park – September
Tel: (028) 7137 2411