Thursday 18 March 2021

Tower Museum Derry saves audio visual collection

The Tower Museum in Derry has received a grant from the UK's Covid-19 Archives Fund to enable it to work on a unique, but 'at risk' audio visual collection.

The project is a partnership with the well-known Derry cameraman Vinny Cunningham of Northern Broadcast and the Museum of Free Derry. The collection will be catalogued, digitised and made available to researchers through a variety of engagement opportunities.

Bernadette Walsh, the Tower Museum Archivist, said the grant will allow the project team to focus on a collection whose historical integrity and uniqueness lies in its completeness.

"It contains mainly analogue material covering subjects as varied as protests, civil unrest, music and sporting events. It can help to tell the story of the region through visual histories.

"Vinny’s knowledge of the collection and commitment to making the collection available was integral to the development of the grant application. Much of the material, in particular the interviews and oral histories, have never been seen publicly."

The Tower Museum is one of 25 organisations to have been awarded grants of up to $50,000 by the Fund, which is administered by The National Archives in Kew, London. The Covid-19 Archives Fund provides support for short-notice work to secure vulnerable analogue and born-digital records across the United Kingdom. It is intended for the benefit of archives at risk that might otherwise be dispersed or lost without intervention. It particularly focuses on records not protected by legislation (such as charity and private records). The Tower Museum is the only archive outside Great Britain to have received one of its grants.