Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA and the UUP Chairman of the Stormont Public Accounts Committee, has challenged the National Museums Northern Ireland to play its full part in ensuring that the community has easy access to information about the issues arising during this decade of centenaries.
Mr Swann is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, and wants to see local museums to work with London’s famous Imperial War Museum to bring exhibitions to the Provence.
Assemblyman Swann issued his appeal after the Queen and Prince Philip visited the constituency to unveil a magnificent statue to a local North Antrim war hero, Robert Quigg VC.
That event alone as a fantastic display of our rich history, culture and linkages to the Armed Forces, and I congratulate all involved in organizing such a great event.
In his statement, the UUP MLA said: “With the decade of centenaries now underway, it is clear that there is a thirst among the community for knowledge about not only the events of significance in the 1912 to 1922 period, but also a desire to learn more about the social history of the time.
“The Titanic centenary showed the interest was as much about the men who built the ship and the conditions they lived and worked in as those who sailed on that fateful voyage.
“The National Museums Northern Ireland is in a position to present a wealth of information to a wide audience over the next 10 years. It is important that the social history is woven into the commemorations of events to ensure that people today understand the context within which decisions were taken.
“With museums, such as the Ulster Museum, being free to access, their ability to ensure an unfettered, balanced account of history will play an important part in ensuring that all those who wish to learn that history have the ability to do so irrespective of religion, class, creed or finances.
“However, ideally what is also needed is a dedicated military museum and it should be located in North Antrim which has a rich military history and heritage,” said Assemblyman Swann.