Tuesday 20 February 2024

New musuem to celebrate Northwest Ireland's maritime, trade and industrial heritage to open in summer 2026

Some £12.7million of funding and a formal green light have been confirmed for a new museum that will celebrate the story of Derry City and the island's north west region's unique connection with the sea.

Nearly £3m of this funding has come from the UK's National Lottery Heritage Fund, a sum that will see the repair and refurbishment of the space at Ebrington where the Derry-Londonderry North Atlantic Museum* will be created. This location (see image below), which is linked to the famous Walled City by the pedestrian Peace Bridge across the River Foyle, will help to extend visitors' experience to the Waterside.

Work is expected to start on site in November, with construction and fit out completed in time for Summer 2026.

The funding will also make the City’s archive and collections more accessible, highlighting its role as the gateway to the Atlantic and sharing its lesser-known international history and global connections. Work is already underway on the interpretative content for all of the galleries.

A series of engagement sessions and events with key stakeholders and citizens will begin shortly aimed at raising awareness of the status of the Museum project and its interpretative content. This process will continue during the Foyle Maritime Festival and beyond.

Commenting on the project reaching this milestone, Economy Minister Conor Murphy said: “This museum will add to the already vibrant tourist offering in this beautiful and historic city. The interactive attraction will showcase the significant heritage of the city and region and it will tell the story of how it has been shaped, with particular focus on the stories of people who have lived and worked in the area."

* While delighted this important project is now going ahead, I think its ungainly name needs to be reconsidered. Quite apart from its failure to stir any excitement, the name of the delivery phase has already been abbreviated to the DNA Project. This is quite likely to stick, and simply misleading.