Derry’s new multi-million pound Siege Museum has been officially unveiled.
The new interpretative centre is located adjacent to the newly refurbished Memorial Hall on Society Street.
The newly built 5,000 sq ft visitors centre contains a number of important historical artefacts including a sword belonging to Adam Murray of Siege fame, cannon balls, musket shot and medals commemorating the reformation of the Apprentice Boys in 1814.
The centre piece on the top floor is a statute of Reverend George Walker, Governor of the City during the Great Siege of 1689.
Chairman of the Siege Museum Management Committee, William Moore said: “It is our privilege to welcome individuals and groups from all communities to the Siege Museum, where they can view and understand the rich history of the Maiden City.”
The North’s Finance Minister, Mervyn Storey, who attended the official opening, said: “The tremendous new facility will create a lasting legacy, ensuring the local community and beyond will understand the invaluable contribution that the Apprentice Boys have made, and continue to make, to the historical, cultural and economic development of Londonderry.”
Derry’s Mayor Elisha McCallion said the new interpretative centre was a major strategic project for the city and an important new facility.
She said the centre “will allow us to promote our heritage and cultural links to everyone in a shared space environment.”
The facility aims to promote a greater understanding of the events which led up to the Siege and also provide a comprehensive insight into the history and traditions of the Apprentice Boys.
Visitors can take a tour of the refurbished Memorial Hall and its various meeting rooms used by the ‘Loyal Orders,’ including the Royal Black Institution. They can also avail of the opportunity to take a guided tour of the City Walls co-ordinated by museum staff.
A dedicated outreach programme is supported by the development of a unique set of educational resources highlighting the historical importance of the Siege and its significance within Protestant culture.
Over the next few years, the project aims to deliver on an ambitious set of visitor targets - including visits by both Catholics and Protestants.