IN the wake of Minister McCauslands declared unhappiness with the quantity and quality of presentation concerning the Orange Order in the current exhibition at the Ulster Museum, I briefly visited our local flagship the Tower Museum to reassure myself that a fair representation of all local fraternities and their historic baggage remains the constant practice.

I am delighted, but not at all surprised, to be able to report that the sensible well balanced approach, adopted by the excellent director and historian, Brian Lacey, in the 1980s and 1990s has been enthusiastically maintained by his worthy successors.
Brian was insistent that all local and national traditions would receive a fair outing during his watch and he consulted freely with all interested parties my humble self included. This healthy co-existence survived and the Tower Museum is now recognised for its honest interpretation of our topsy turvy history.
I do realise, of course, that the museum, with the natural limitations of space can exhibit only a fraction of material from the archive relating to any specific tradition. Unashamedly I redirect readers to one of my favourite hobby horses the absolute necessity of establishing a purpose built educational/ interpretive call it what you will centre adjacent to the Memorial Hall to deal with obvious matters. Lobbying for this paricular facility was born an incredible two decades ago, during my term of office, when the tercentenary celebrations were in full spate.
Eternal optimism reigns supreme in this aspiring City of Culture, where there is so much more scope now for our alternative and evolving histories.
I appreciate that I am expected to hoist the banner high for the Apprentice Boys case but it isnt too difficult considering its obvious merits. Consider the facts the longest established local fraternity 1714, arguably the longest established lobbyist for an appropriate stall to display its wares 1988-89, the one tradition that has thrown its doors open to all to explain its business and lots more besides.
I do not believe, however, that their case should just rest on its merits because it is now time to complete the task.
Back to the Tower Museum; during the forthcoming decade commemorations will take place concerning major historical events that continue to have significance in our lives and I am confident that the museum service will efficiently administer the recognition of these landmarks.

Published date on the 17th of June 2010
Article taken from the Londonderry Sentinel


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