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A new Performing Arts Reminiscence Box, developed by the Newry and Mourne Museum, was launched by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Terry Andrews on Wednesday 7 August.

Since 2007 the Museum has been providing a Reminiscence Loan Box service to community groups, schools, care homes and individuals across the district. The boxes contain a number of familiar objects and documents which can help stimulate and encourage conversation and recall of the past. The new Performing Arts Reminiscence Box covers the various aspects of the performing arts in the Newry area including music and drama, Irish dancing, pantomime, showbands and the Newry Musical Feis.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Terry Andrews, pictured with Museum Assistants, Joanne Glymond and Noelle Murtagh, and Museum Education Officer, Declan Carroll at the launch of Newry and Mourne Museum’s new Performing Arts Reminiscence Box. (Newry and Mourne Museum Collection)
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Terry Andrews, pictured with Museum Assistants, Joanne Glymond and Noelle Murtagh, and Museum Education Officer, Declan Carroll at the launch of Newry and Mourne Museum’s new Performing Arts Reminiscence Box. (Newry and Mourne Museum Collection)

Speaking at the launch, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson Councillor Andrews said, “I am very pleased to be able to launch this new Reminiscence Box which is packed with objects and photographs that will bring back memories of the local arts and entertainment scene. 

“The Museum’s memory or reminiscence loan box service is already extremely popular throughout the local district and further afield and this new box can only enrich this popular scheme. 

“I want to thank all those who have been involved in collecting these diverse and exciting artefacts, and want to make special mention of Joanne Cummins, Joanne Glymond and Noelle Murtagh who designed the new box. I know that it will be a very welcome addition to the Museum’s outreach initiatives.” 

A Newry Musical Feis programme from 1966.
A Newry Musical Feis programme from 1966.

Objects in the box include Irish dancing costumes, dancing shoes and a traditional wig. The box also contains memorabilia from Newry Musical and Orchestral Society, including advertising posters, programmes and stage props from a number of their productions as well as programmes and posters from pantomimes put on over the years by Charlie Smyth and Glen Youth Club. 

As music was an important part the performing arts in Newry, especially Newry Musical Feis, the box has musical instruments including a recorder and harmonica that people are encouraged to try out, as well as having the opportunity to listen back to songs from popular musicals which have been supplied on CD. 

The showband era is also represented in the reminiscence box with postcards and photographs of bands that performed in the local area including the ‘Debonaires’. To provide a multi-sensory experience, the box includes a CD of the showbands’ greatest hits, which can be played during reminiscence sessions. 

The Performing Arts Reminiscence Box, like the other boxes at the museum, is accompanied with a resource file with useful suggestions, poems, stories and reading lists. 

Museum staff are trained in reminiscence techniques and can advise on how to use the box and its contents. If you are interested in borrowing a reminiscence box, contact Declan Carroll on 028 3031 3178, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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