Nominations sought for ‘Derry in 100 Objects’

The original padlocks and keys of the four city gates that are now on display at St Columb's Cathedral. (Museum Service)
The original padlocks and keys of the four city gates that are now on display at St Columb's Cathedral. (Museum Service)

A wealth of ideas are coming in for the city’s latest Culture project, ‘A History of Derry in 100 Objects’ - with suggestions ranging from St Columb’s Cathedral’s Promise Chalice, an Undertones album cover, a Spitfire Engine and an emigration passenger list.

These objects are just some of those proposed for a new exhibition by Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service - but more are needed so the organisers are urging local people to select an object or building that best captures the rich heritage of our city.

Bernadette Walsh, Archivist with Derry’s Heritage and Museum Service, this week reiterated the call for local people to get involved. “Some fantastic objects have already been suggested, and we would probably have around 50 nominations by now,” Bernadette told the ‘Journal’, “But our call for nominations will continue until the end of September.”

An initial exhibition is planned for the Tower Museum as part of Culture Night on September 20, with the hope it will generate more nominations. “Hopefully seeing some of the objects on display will give a final push and inspire others to nominate their own ideas too,” says Bernadette.

“Then the whole exhibition will continue until the end of the year with objects housed at various locations in the city, like the Workhouse Museum. Foyle Valley Railway Museum, St Columb’s Cathedral, the London Street Gallery and St Augustine’s Church.”

“This is an appeal for venues too,” she added. “If a gallery or heritage building in the city would be interested in hosting some of the 100 Objects, we’d love to hear from them. The venue would have to be secure and accessible to the public.”

Some fascinating objects are already under consideration. Mo Durkan nominated a box of buttons for the city’s shirt factories, while Pat MacCafferty opted for Derry’s first ever 1922 Feis programme. Roisin Doherty nominated a poster of Amelia Earhart’s journey and local genealogist Brian Mitchell, meanwhile, nominates a 1912 loan book from the Gweedore Bar and the passenger list for the Derry-Philadelphia voyage.

Dave Atherton nominated Jack Scoltock’s Dive Log Book from the wreck of La Trinidad Valencera. “I was one of the divers on the project,” Dave reveals, “I think it’s very important historically and academically as the Armada was a huge turning point in world history.”

Personally, I intend to nominate the ‘Derry Journal’ archives, and the white handkerchief waved by Bishop (then Fr) Daly as my uncle Jackie was carried away from the gunfire on Bloody Sunday. But what would YOU choose?