The civil rights events in Derry started in 1968 and was known as “Free Derry”, this was part of the wider movement in Northern Ireland because of the discrimination against Irish Catholics. This ended in 1972, when 13 civilians were shot by British Paratroopers during an anti-interment march in the Bogside, known as Bloody Sunday, leading to a massive upsurge in violence across Northern Ireland.
The Museum of Free Derry was set up to tell the story of Free Derry from the point of view of the people most affected. The museum was opened in 2007 in a once-derelict housing block that was in the middle of the events of Bloody Sunday. Some of the main events covered in the Museum are; the civil rights era, Battle of the Bogside, Bloody Sunday and operation Motorman.
The Museum gives visitors a chance to compare the local civil rights movements to other civil rights movements and massacres across the world including; the US Civil Rights Movement, Wounded Knee, Sharpeville and Fallujah. The Museum also encourages people to recognise that the struggle for civil rights is an ongoing issue in many parts of the world and not something that is just in the past.
The Museum contains a Multimedia exhibition, including images, video, items and banners from the civil rights era. Tours are available at the Museum that cover the history of the Bogside and civil rights era. A visit to the Museum of Free Derry is a must for any visitor that has an interest in civil rights or the Troubles as some of the most significant events took place in the Bogside.