Museum Loan Boxes Offer Glimpse Of Life During WWII :Derry-Strabane

07 May 2019

The museums and heritage service of Derry City and Strabane District Council are introducing an exciting and innovative service for local schools and groups to help recreate a sense of what life was really like for people living through the Second World War.

As the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict approaches, two distinct loan boxes have been prepared which focus both on the home front, and the civil defence and regular army life. Schools and groups interested in exploring the era can now borrow the boxes from the Tower Museum or the Alley Theatre in Strabane to give children the opportunity to find out more about how ordinary people were impacted by the conflict at home, and what life was like for those embroiled in the conflict.

Collections Engagement Officer with the Museum and Heritage Service, Adrian Beattie, said the boxes offered a glimpse into the realities of day to day life during one of the most tumultuous times in recent history.

“The loan boxes offer the chance to see first-hand the items which would have been common in every household at that time, for example the newspapers that covered these historic events, which would have provided for most their only source of information on what was happening abroad.

“There are also examples of the rations that people had to make do with, which will give an idea of how little was available, and how things we now take for granted were considered luxury items at that time. The boxes are a great resource for any local schools or groups who may not have the opportunity to visit the museum, and are a great learning tool for anyone focusing on this era of history.”

The loan boxes are available to borrow for just £5, and hold a collection of fascinating items that conjure up a sense of the time. They contain a broad selection of items, many of which are original, that reflect the life of the ordinary person on the Home Front. The items include a selection of reprinted newspapers and WWII wartime replica newspapers, which will teach children more about the events of the time and help them understand the issues facing families in a war torn society.

Other items include replica WWII Food Rations to include the weekly approximate allowance of butter (50g), bacon (3 slices), one egg, cheese (50g), lard (160g), meat (224g), tea (50g), sugar (224g), as well as an evacuee’s suitcase of belongings, to include replica letters from real evacuees, toys, gasmasks, and documents. Replica ration books and propaganda documents also give a real sense of the air of uncertainty and threat which governed everyday life.

To find out more about how you can borrow one of the loan boxes for a school or group contact the Tower Museum on 02871 372411 or the Alley Theatre on 028 7138 4444.