This is how the new-look Museum of Free Derry will look like when it opens next year.
Building work on the redevelopment of the museum at Glenfada Park has now started and is expected to last around nine months.
It is due to open to the public in May 2016.
The new museum will include a state of the art, multi-media exhibition area, an archive and research area, a dedicated classroom facility and a flexible conference and ‘transient’ exhibition space.
The ‘signature’ building will be complemented by a specially commissioned artwork, created by local sculptor Locky Morris, entitled “We Shall Overcome”.
Julieann Campbell, chairperson of the Bloody Sunday Trust, has welcomed the start of building work on ‘Phase II’ of the Museum.
“It has been a long and difficult road, but we have no doubt that this redevelopment will create a stunning, world-class facility that the people of the Bogside and, indeed, our entire city can be immensely proud of,” she told the ‘Journal’.
“On a personal level, I must commend all those who have worked so diligently behind the scenes to ensure this project reaches fruition. Thanks to their dedication and vision, the important history of this city’s struggle for civil rights, Free Derry and Bloody Sunday will be preserved far into the 21st century and beyond.”
The Museum of Free Derry first opened to the public in January 2007 and, since then, has hosted more than 150,000 visitors from all parts of the world.
The new museum has been designed by a Derry-based team, led by architects Brennan Associates, and is part-financed by the European Regional Development Programme, Tourism Northern Ireland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Department for Social Development and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Paul Mullan, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) NI, said: “The redevelopment of the Museum of Free Derry will ensure that the public can more fully explore the museum’s unique collection and learn more about this important period in our history.
“HLF awarded £800,000 in support of this project and it is fantastic to see work get underway on site to upgrade and improve the facilities.”
Paul McNaught, Department for Social Development, added: “The commencement of construction works on the Museum of Free Derry is to be welcomed.
“The £300,000 investment by DSD will ensure that the new state of the art facility will further enhance the already vibrant tourism scene within the city and will encourage tourists to visit the Bogside, providing opportunities for local people.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion, said she was delighted Council was able to step in to meet a funding shortfall for the extension of the museum.
“I am delighted that Derry City and Strabane District Council has committed £175,000 towards the revamp of this facility,” she said. “The Museum is one of the city’s most important tourist assets, telling our city’s unique story with a focus on civil rights and the early years of the Troubles, including Bloody Sunday. Thanks to the funding, the Museum, when completed, will further enhance our city’s tourism offering, creating a world class tourist facility.”
The Museum of Free Derry will operate from temporary premises at 39 Shipquay Street for the duration of the building work.