WHAT are the objects that define the people of the Dungannon District the best?
The first piece of crystal cast by Dungannon Crystal, the snooker cue of a former Irish champion, a hand-woven net from Lough Neagh, a personal photograph of a loved one, a pair of football boots, a rusting farming implement - some objects can tell more of a story than the best-written books, while others can unlock a hidden history that has been ignored or forgotten.
In the final year of its existence, Dungannon Council is launching a landmark exhibition of 100 objects that tell the story of the local district in a vivid and startling way.
They are appealing to residents, sporting organisations, charities, societies, schools and institutions to trawl through their attics and cupboards and donate an object that provides an insight into life in the Dungannon district, past or present.
The objects will be used for the exhibition and then returned to the original owners.
They do not have to be iconic instantly recognisable objects, but can have a personal significance to which others are able to relate.
Early nominations include everything from the medieval to the thoroughly modern.
So far the council have gathered collections of newspaper clippings, school mottoes, photographs of landmark moments, an historic football jersey and two printing plates from the old Moygashel factory.
The plates were rescued by Mona Wylie when the factory was closed.
The project has been inspired by the hugely popular Radio Four programme which told the story of the world in 100 artefacts.
Selected from the extensive collections of the British Museum, the objects were presented in a the radio series tracing the history of the world from the origins of human life millions of years ago to the present day.
With the help of Tyrone Times readers, the council hope to whittle the list down to the top ten objects which shaped Dungannon’s history or represent it the most.
The Tyrone Times will feature the shortlist of objects, giving their history and local significance, and readers will be asked to pick their top choice.
Pictures of the objects and a short description will be available to view on the Tyrone Times website (www.tyronetimes.co.uk).
Peter Lant, Education Officer at the council, said he is expecting the selection process to spark debate and discussion.
“Next year Dungannon council will become part of a new merged council with Cookstown and Magherafelt. In order to mark the demise of this historic borough, we are launching this ambitious project which will run for two months next year.
“It is one in which we need the support of everyone in the district. We thought it would be worthwhile and exciting to present this exhibition and encapsulate what makes us unique. We want people to send in objects that tell the story of their part of the district.
“With the creation of the merged super council, there is a fear that local identities will dissolve and this is a way of countering that. We hope the exhibition will be a celebration of our heritage, and a reminder of what makes this district great.”