Council Chair hosts Changing of a Nation exhibition

28th March 2022

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“The Changing of a Nation” exhibition was formally opened at the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh on Thursday 24th March 2022, by the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson.

Speaking about the exhibition, Councillor Thompson said:

“The decade between 1912 and 1922 featured many important moments in our shared history.

The changes on the island of Ireland in 1921 as a consequence of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, was a reflection of a tumultuous period which saw great political and social changes taking place not only at home but also across Europe, coming as it did so soon after the end of the first world war.

“The Changing of a Nation” exhibition explores some of these events of 100 years ago through objects, photographs and documents from the time pertaining to the Omagh district and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is delighted to be afforded the opportunity to host the event in the wonderful surroundings of Strule Arts Centre.”

The major touring exhibition has been organised by the Tower Museum, Derry City & Strabane District Council. It 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.

“The Tower Museum staff were delighted with the continued interest in the travelling exhibition, it has had a successful run in Cookstown, Fermanagh and we look forward to promoting the exhibition in Omagh. The exhibition includes a range of archives and objects from the collections. It was an exhibition that enabled us to work with a variety of partners including the Nerve Centre to engage the local community.”

“The Changing of a Nation” has been developed to incorporate objects and stories relating to the Omagh area. The exhibition sees a continuation of partnership-working with colleagues from Monaghan County Museum through the inclusion of artefacts generously lent from their collections. In addition, Libraries NI have kindly lent books for an exhibition display.

The exhibition is an integral part of the understanding the Decade of Commemorations. Highlighted are the political, economic, and wider societal impacts of the events of this complex period in a bid to provide an enhanced understanding of the impact of war, political upheaval, and institutional change within the island of Ireland. There are exciting local stories featured in the exhibition including Alice Milligan (1865-1953) and Constable James Munnelly (1890-1920) and Dr. Patrick McCartan (1878-1963). Pictures of the Strathroy Aerodrome and an extensive timeline of local events will also be on display. Many items featured in the exhibition displays have been kindly lent by individuals throughout the local community.

“The Changing of a Nation” is a key feature of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s NI2021 Events Programme. Throughout its display, the exhibition will be the focus of local personal stories recorded though the Council’s Digital Remembering Initiative. This Initiative is supported by the Shared History Fund distributed by the Heritage Fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office.

Dr Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland at the Heritage Fund said:
“The Heritage Fund is delighted to support the Digital Remembering Initiative project through the Shared History Fund. We are delivering the Shared History Fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to help a wide range of groups mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland in a thoughtful, inclusive and engaging way.  This project is one of 39 projects funded through the programme and will help a wide range of people explore the key events and moments in Northern Ireland’s history.”

The exhibition is free and will run at Strule Arts Centre until Saturday 14 May 2022. The exhibition will be available to view during normal working hours. Mitigations against the spread of Covid-19 will be in place.