Controversial plans for the refurbishment of the Museum of Free Derry were discussed at an at times heated and acrimonious meeting in Pilots Row community centre on Friday night.
The meeting attended by around 70 members of the public and representatives of the Bloody Sunday Trust, the organisation responsible for the museum, saw very frank exchanges of views concerning recent changes in plans for the newly planned facility in the heart of the Bogside.The public meeting was called after some local residents objected that part of the planned new £2.2 million structure - on which work is due to start inJanuary 2015 - will obscure the Bogside’s iconic Civil Rights mural.
At Friday night’s meeting management of the museum and representatives of the Bloody Sunday Trust put forward claims that design changes to the front section ofthe building will not see a highly recognisable mural depicting Civil Rights marches obscured, a ramp allowing access to an adjoining blockof flats and a mobile shop disappear
However, recently artists’ impressions appear to support the claims of angry residents that these features will be excluded from the revamped museum when completed.
Liam Wray, brother of Jim Wray who was shot dead on Bloody Sunday told the meeting:” I was there on Bloody Sunday and used that ramp for cover. Where it is possible to keep these things intact in relation to Bloody Sunday then they should be. Other countries do their best to preserve these these type of artefacts and so should we.”
Julieanne Campbell, Bloody Trust chair, said the ramp was included in the plan in 2010 but the option for a green space at the
front of the museum was taken in an effort to make it “ a world class museum.”