The period explored by the exhibition from 1912-1922 saw monumental changes to the political and social structures of the island of Ireland. Some of these events are highlighted through objects and documents in the Museum's collection. Topics range from Partition and the work of the Boundary Commission creating the border between North and South, to the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War – all of which had a significant impact on life in the North West.
The Dividing Ireland exhibition is part of the Understanding the Decade of Commemorations project, supported by the European Union's PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The project is match-funded by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Mayor Brian Tierney said he really enjoyed viewing the exhibition at the Tower Museum.
'I'm sure it will be of great interest to many people who want to learn more about a significant period in our history.
'I know it has already garnered plenty of attention since opening as part of the Tower's reopening on July 14th, and I want to thank Council's Museums team and the staff at the Tower for putting this together and finding a safe way to bring important history, heritage and culture to both our locals and the visitors to our city and district.
'My thanks also to our partners involved in bringing this exhibition to the public and I hope many take advantage of it, and the other events, in the weeks and months ahead.'
Council Archivist Bernadette Walsh said the exhibition will form part of a wider programme around the events of the time. The exhibition is supplemented with key artefacts and historical archives and personal family items.
''Dividing Ireland' is also accompanied by a series of engagement events, including a History Ireland Hedge School podcast which is available on the website. Plans are underway for an online conference in the Autumn, as well as some further events with historians and archivists.'
David Lewis, Director of Communications and Digital Content at the Nerve Centre, said: 'The Nerve Centre have been working closely with the Tower Museum to deliver the Understanding the Decade of Commemorations project.
'To date, the project has empowered over 100 people to explore our past together and create responses using filmmaking, digital fabrication and art, as well as events and an exhibition. We are looking forward to continuing this work in the second half of the project.'
Sue Divin, Council's PEACE IV Programme Manager, added: 'The PEACE IV Board are delighted that issues from the Decade of Centenaries are being creatively explored through this project.
'One hundred years ago the border was a contentious issue. In today's context it still remains a topic which evokes significant emotions, memories and debate, and it's hoped that the exhibition will help local communities reflect constructively on facts and perspectives."'
Historical researcher Dr Adrian Grant explained that it is an exhibition not to be missed.
'The Dividing Ireland exhibition explores the history of the partition of Ireland, covering the roots of the idea in the late nineteenth century to the impact and legacy of the border in the twentieth century.
'It includes archive photographs and footage from the period, as well as oral history interviews with people who participated in the events of the time. Visitors will gain an understanding of how it felt to live during these times where the future of Ireland was in the balance.'
Check out the Tower Museum's new website for more details and to see some of the objects in the collection
If you have any artefacts, archive material, photographs or stories connected to the Decade of Centenaries please contact the Tower Museum on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Decade of Commemorations project is part of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Peace IV programme.