The Museum of Free Derry is delighted to announce that they are waiving their admission fee next week to celebrate a successful 2012 and the movement of their portable exhibiton to Little Rock in the USA.
The museum’s portable exhibition, which has spent the past year on display in various venues in the USA, is now on its way to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas.
The site is based in the school where, in one of the most iconic moments of the civil rights movement in the USA, nine black schoolchildren had to be escorted into the school by the National Guard past racist protesters in September 1957.
Although the nine young pupils faced many racist incidents after they entered the school, the event marked the symbolic end of racial segregation of schools in the southern states of the USA.
Adrian Kerr, manager of the Museum of Free Derry said:
“This is a really important move for us. To have our museum and our history represented at such an important historic site is a major milestone in the ongoing development of the Museum of Free Derry, and will hopefully be the beginning of a long and beneficial working partnership with the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. We are very proud to have our exhibition go on display there.
“The exhibition was sent out to the USA about a year ago, where a friend of ours, Bill Pribyl, has looked after it ever since and has put it on display in a number of venues and at a series of festivals.
“We are very grateful to him for all his help in promoting our work.
“When Robin White from the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site contacted us about working together on some joint projects on the American and Irish civil rights movements, and said she’d be delighted to host the exhibition at her site, we didn’t hesitate to get the exhibition sent to her. It is an honour for us.”
The portable exhibition consists of twelve printed panels giving an edited version of the narrative used in the Museum of Free Derry, covering the civil rights era, Battle of the Bogside, Free Derry, Internment, Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman.
The news comes at the end of what has been a busy year for the Museum of Free Derry.
Visitor numbers to the museum since it opened in 2007 passed 100,000 during the summer, and the museum has hosted over 18,500 visitors in 2012 alone, its best year yet and a rise of almost 10% over 2011.
Work on the proposed redevelopment of the museum has also continued, and building work is now set to begin in September 2013.
To celebrate the end of what has been such a good year, and to give local people the chance to visit for free, the Museum of Free Derry will be open free of charge from Monday 17 December until Friday 21 December.
The museum will be open 9.30am Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 1.00pm Friday.