News: Maze site 'should feature museum'

It would be interesting to get peoples' thoughts on the following. The redevelopment of and institution of a museum at the Maze/Long Kesh site is likely to be highly controversial. Already I have come across several articles and news reports which relate the different (perhaps unreconcialable?) perspectives from all interested parties. It raises all sorts of issues: how do museums deal with controversial and contested histories, with politics, with conflict, with suffering? Is there a fine line between commemoration and celebration? How do we - as museum professionals (those of us that are!) - maintain a neutral perspective when dealing with such a contentious period of history? Should we try to maintain a neutral perspective? Who has the right to speak about the prison and 'the troubles'?

A £10m conflict resolution centre and museum should be built on the site of the former Maze prison in County Antrim, Sinn Fein has said.
Launching its proposals for the project, the party insisted it would not be a shrine to republicans.
The government's proposals for the 360 acre site near Lisburn include a multi-sports stadium and "centre for conflict transformation". A competition has been launched to build the 42,000-seater stadium.

Sinn Fein said it wanted some prison walls, watchtowers and H-block prison wings retained.
It also urged the prison hospital, where 10 IRA and INLA hunger strikers died in 1981, to be preserved.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sinn Fein's Paul Butler said: "We repeatedly are on record as saying it should not be a shrine to any of the hunger strikers or any individual. "The history of republicanism has to be told, their history, the history of imprisonment. "But nowhere in this document is it proposed that it's going to be a shrine to anyone." Mr Butler, a member of the Maze/Long Kesh Monitoring Group, said it was important that the experiences of loyalist inmates and prison officers should be also be preserved.

The sports stadium is the main element of the government's plan, but part of the prison will be retained for the conflict transformation centre. However, a final decision on the plans could still be more than a year away.

As well as an outdoor stadium the plan also features an indoor stadium, a hotel, equestrian arena and land for housing and industry. The minister responsible for the regeneration of the Maze site, David Hanson, said the monitoring group had endorsed the appointment of Deloitte Touche to undertake the preparation of a business plan for the international centre for conflict transformation. Mr Hanson, said he would not rule out the possibility of the new stadium being used for events like the weekend hunger strike commemoration at Casement Park.

His comments followed the Sports Council's call for an urgent meeting with GAA officials over the controversial rally, because the west Belfast ground received significant lottery funding.
PricewaterhouseCoopers are to conclude a business plan for the multi-sports stadium, and RPS is to advise on site preparation, planning application preparation, transport assessment and design and environmental studies, he said. Mr Hanson also confirmed that a separate announcement would be made shortly regarding the stadium design competition.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/16 21:52:25 GMT© BBC MMVI


Popular Posts