Derry’s Guildhall will be the first venue of its kind in Europe to offer an iPod led tour for visitors when the current refurbishment is completed.
When the Guildhall reopens in June, visitor attractions will include a new interpretative exhibition on the Plantation of Ulster, as well an interactive tour of the historic building itself.
At the monthly meeting of Derry City Council’s development committee on Tuesday, councillors were given an update on the services for visitors which will be provided in the building.
Andrew Todd from Tandem Design, the company behind the design for the Plantation exhibition and other attractions in the Guildhall, told councillors that the facilities will offer something for everyone.
The exhibition, ‘Plantation - Process, People, and Perspectives,’ will form the centrepiece of the attractions in the Guildhall and will be an interactive experience, including artefacts, text boards, and video displays. As well as telling the story of the plantation, when the Gaelic inhabitants were displaced from their lands by English and Scottish settlers, the exhibition will also examine the legacy of the period.
Mr Todd said the exhibition is designed to allow people to engage with history as well as learn from it. “We want an exhibition that makes people question what it is about. People may think they know what the Plantation was all about but we want them to take another look.
“We want people to not just walk around the exhibition, but to interact with it,” he said.
He also said visitors will be given the opportunity to make comments on what they have seen and those comments will be displayed at the end of the exhibition.
He also said visitors will have the opportunity to take a tour of the Guildhall with iPod commentary. “The tour will include the history of the Guildhall with details on the stained glass windows and architecture, as well as a display on the Guildhall’s involvement in the Saville Inquiry.
“Derry City Council will be the first organisation in Europe to use new case held iPods for the tour. A similar one is used in the Empire State Building,” he said.
SDLP councillor Martin Reilly welcomed the plans. “I look forward to seeing this open to the public in the not too distant future,” he said.
Sinn Féin colr. Eric McGinley described the plans as “very innovative”. “People have perspectives on the processes of the Plantation and this allows people to engage in the continuing debate and discussion on this period,” he said.
DIP alderman Drew Thompson asked for councillors to be given a preview before it opens to the public.