Voices of 68
A pivotal year, and not just for Northern Ireland. This exhibition encourages a fresh look at this crucial period in Northern Ireland's history. It is told in the words of some of those most directly involved at the time.
Northern Irish society is more divided than most other places, so the way in which our museums develop, display and interpret their collections will inevitably be the subject of much discussion and debate.
People have a right to question things. Why this and not that? Why here and not there? Why him and not her? In fact, our museums ought to welcome questions, discussions and challenges. They should be shared and trusted spaces to have those conversations.
National Museums NI welcomes these conversations, however difficult they may be at times. We do this because our collection is a unique asset and learning resource that allows us not only to reflect on the past, but also on our shared future. A museum isn’t an omniscient voice, it’s an enabler of thought and debate. We encourage people to consider diverse perspectives on culture, history and society. We promote understanding, respect and empathy. This isn’t easy, and that’s why we work with partners who bring additional knowledge, insight, networks and sensitivity to examine the legacy of the past in ways that help to create better understanding and a new narrative. This is a painstaking but ultimately rewarding process. However, museum practice is built on attributes such as care, patience, scholarship and the ability to see the bigger picture and the longer view. A museum should be a place for reflection, encouraging dialogue and building understanding.
The Troubles and Beyond exhibition is not exclusively focused on the conflict but relates to contemporary history and therefore includes objects that represent our wider social, cultural and economic history. It is a dynamic space and it continues to be developed and refined in response to feedback, public engagement and further development of our collection.
We view our work in this area as an ongoing process. To fulfil our role in society we must continue to develop our approach and increase our impact into the future. Our approach is underpinned by the following key principles:
This provides a summary of the evaluation of our work on the Troubles between the years of 2014 and 2019. It focuses on how we have developed our approach in this important area in close collaboration with stakeholders, partners and communities, and how we might develop it further into the future.