SERIES OF EVENTS CELEBRATING MABEL COLHOUN AND LOCAL ARCHAEOLOGY AT TOWER MUSEUM
Organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, the events are designed to give members of the public the opportunity to experience, not only a sample archaeological dig but also to have the opportunity to engage with professional archaeologists, take part in family activities and see ancient artefacts up close and personal.
The events begin on Friday 7th of July at the Tower Museum where the life of renowned local archaeologist, educationalist and naturalist, Mabel Colhoun will be celebrated with a special blue plaque unveiling by the Mayor of the city and district and the Ulster History Circle at 11.30am.
Mabel’s niece Kyleen Clarke and local historian Denise Henry will also speak at the event on Mabel’s legacy.
Later on the Friday evening at 6:30pm, the Mayor will open the ‘Mabel Colhoun: A North West Pioneer exhibition’, which will be displayed at the museum.
The ground-breaking exhibition will unveil powerful representations of Mabel’s life through the use of spaces, featuring her incredible and inspirational collections relating to her work as a teacher, archaeological surveyor, writer, artist and historian.
The following day, Saturday 8th July, from 10.00am until 4.00pm, archaeology enthusiasts are invited to unearth the history of the city and district with a series of events taking place at the Tower Museum and Craft Village as part of the third annual Archaeology Day.
There will be an opportunity for children to take part in a ‘Big Dig’ at the Craft Village and experience a replica Viking House excavation, designed for children from 5 to 12 years of age.
The event enables children to explore the Viking world through a simulated and controlled archaeology dig and experience what life as a young Indiana Jones would be like, by learning how to excavate the remains of a Viking house and dig for Viking treasures and artefacts dating back over 1,000 years.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said, “This is a great opportunity, especially for children, to learn about the archaeology.
“I am really looking forward to these events and finding out more about the interactive archaeological activities, such as the big dig of the Viking House. It is also wonderful to see Mabel Colhoun getting the recognition she deserves for the lifetime service she rendered to local heritage.
“This will be a great weekend out for all the family and it’s free! I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our residents and visitors to discover their roots, the history of the council area and its people and a unique opportunity to view important archive sources.”
Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle said he was delighted that the unveiling of Mabel’s plaque coincided with Archaeology Day, “Mabel Colhoun was an educationalist and a historian, and is renowned as a trailblazing archaeologist who devoted her life to the heritage of Inishowen.
“Twenty five years after her death in 1992, the Ulster History Circle is delighted to commemorate this pioneering archaeologist with a blue plaque in her native city. The Circle would like to thank Mabel Colhoun’s family and friends and the Tower Museum for their support towards the plaque.”
On Saturday 8th July there will also be a series of talks from local experts including a talk by Sarah Nicol, discussing ‘Glenshane Wood Henge, Derry’s Ritualistic Past’ at 11:30am; an exciting presentation on the ‘Excavation of the Battle of Britain Veteran Spitfire R6992’ by Jonny Mc Nee at 1.00pm; followed by a fantastic demonstration by Alastair Ruffell, who will present findings from recent geo-physical surveys on the Siege Museum, Nailor’s Row and Longtower Street at 2:30pm.
Amongst the family fun activities throughout the day for children, there will be opportunities to explore the past with treasure hunts, fancy dress, tours and exhibitions.
The new Mabel Colhoun exhibition, with activities for families will also be officially open to the public all day.
‘The Tower Museum is very excited to have Mabel’s extraordinary collection unveiled to the public is this exciting and innovative way. Work has been ongoing on this project for over a year now and we are delighted to have a wide array of volunteers, family members and acquaintances of Mabel’s involved. We are also very grateful to have the members of the West Inishowen History and Heritage Society on board, who have the unenviable task of cataloguing this huge and varied collection.’ said Roisin Doherty, the Tower Museum Curator.
To attend the Mabel Colhoun blue plaque launch or exhibition launch on Friday 7th July, please RSVP to email: firstname.lastname@example.org, as spaces will be limited.
Archaeology Day will take place on July 8th and will include free admission to the Tower Museum throughout the day.
For more information on all the events go to www.derrystrabane.com/towermuseum or visit the museum’s Facebook page @towermuseum.