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reawakening the ulster folk museum

Connect with the past. Make sense of the present. Build the future.

Two women in old fashioned clothing walking with a donkey in the countryside
In the early 1960s, inspired by the vision of Estyn Evans (1905-1989), a cottier's house in Magilligan, Co. Londonderry was transported "stone by stone" to a new location in Cultra, Co. Down, rebuilt and opened to the public. The life of the Ulster Folk Museum had begun.
For over half a century, the museum has preserved and interpreted the way of life and traditions of the people of Ulster that are fast disappearing in an increasingly globalised world. Now, as it approaches its 60th anniversary, we believe that now is the time to 'reawaken' the museum and expand its role as a heritage and environment resource, making it more relevant and more resilient for current and future generations.

A Reawakening

From the outset, the Ulster Folk Museum was imbued with a communitarian spirit that took pride in the way of life of the people of Ulster, past and present. Those who helped found the museum travelled the breadth of the province to identify buildings to relocate, collect objects, oral histories and photographs, and build a comprehensive picture of the rich social fabric of Ulster and the lives and cultural traditions of its people. Throughout its past, the museum has kept evolving to respond to social change and conflict in Northern Ireland, always illustrating that we are better equipped to face the problems of the present if armed with a fuller knowledge of the past.

As we look to the problems of the present - rapid technological advancement, social division, disconnection and isolation, and environmental degradation - the knowledge and collections held within the museum still have an important role to play.

Through the creation of more ways to get involved in the museum, the project will create active links between past and present and will position the museum as an essential heritage and environmental resource that will serve as a hub of connection - to ourselves, to each other, and to the environment.

On this page you'll find ways to keep up to date with the Reawakening and join us on our journey.

The development of this project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

Made possible with Heritage Fund