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Reawakening FAQs

Answering your questions about the Reawakening project.

A bunch of hammers dangle in a row on a bench.

The Ulster Folk Museum was founded in the 1950s to preserve knowledge of ways of life that had altered little for centuries, but was fast disappearing to a changing world. It represents the story of the ‘ploughed field’, not the ‘battlefield’. With a dedicated team and an enthusiastic public, the early years of the museum were spent collecting oral histories and cataloguing donated objects. The founders of the museum believed that it could provide a sense of meaning in a world that was undergoing fast and dramatic societal and technological change.

We believe that today, more than ever, the Ulster Folk Museum is a vital heritage and environmental resource that can support inclusivity, community cohesion, better wellbeing, skills development, and new sustainable thinking.

The Reawakening is simply this: a plan to reconnect with the founding ethos of the museum offering people of Ulster a place to learn about their heritage and find connection to the land, to community, and to themselves. We plan to do so by creating new partnerships with local organisations, including those focused on the environment and wellbeing, and by creating new ways for people to get involved in the museum's activities.

Over six decades, the Ulster Folk Museum has evolved in response to changing challenges and opportunities. On re-emerging from the global pandemic, strong foundations for renewal have been established at the museum including new partnerships, engagement, and volunteering opportunities. From foraging walks to conservation initiatives, from exploring the languages of Ulster to wellbeing walks, there is an amazing opportunity to 'reawaken' the museum's role in today's society, making it more relevant and more resilient for current and future generations.

Now is the right time to expand the museum's role as a heritage and environment resource. At the Ulster Folk Museum, we can provide a space to reconnect with nature and with the rhythms of the landscape in a time of climate crisis. We can offer an alternative to fast fashion, fast food, and disposable living, and empower people to grow, create, and mend. We can offer a space to connect with the heritage we have in common, that what makes us diverse and what the future might hold.

Through engagement and events we have begun offering new, deeper ways to engage with the museum and share in the past. We have been building relationships, partnerships, programming and volunteer initiatives that prove that the Ulster Folk Museum, and the history we share, has immense relevance to life today.

This means that we are developing opportunities for people to get involved at the Ulster Folk Museum. We’d like to give you a hands-on experience with our expert craftspeople; offer more chances to engage with heritage; engage with wellness and wellbeing; learn about the environment and sustainability; and connect you to the lifeways of the past and present.

To facilitate new ways to get involved, we need to invest in the infrastructure of the museum. The reinvestment project will see new carefully located buildings combined with sensitive interventions to the existing museum fabric to support new learning and participation opportunities, whilst also enhancing engagement with the museum's inherent strengths.

These proposed buildings would be built using local, renewable resources, and would take into account the surrounding environment both in aesthetic and physical design – with aspects of the building consciously designed to allow bats, birds and bees to live in harmony with humans.

We have already begun! Over the past few years, we have consciously created engagement opportunities to position the Ulster Folk Museum as a key heritage and environmental resource.  

As part of our ongoing work, we will be piloting new ways to get involved to help the museum express its newly reimagined personality and purposes. We will be designing opportunities for people to get closer to the museum's heritage assets than ever before; get hands-on with heritage skills and craft making; see heritage conservation in action; roll up their sleeves and volunteer at the museum; and take home new ideas about the environment and sustainable living.

Get involved! Your input and feedback into these initiatives will help move the project forward.

There are many organisations and individuals involved in the Reawakening.

  • We have graciously been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to begin our journey. 
  • We have been working with local organisations to create engagement opportunities for groups, schools, and the general public at the museum.

Yes! There are many ways to get involved in the Reawakening. 

  • You can keep an eye on our programme of events to find out what's on.
  • You can volunteer with us. There are different opportunities to volunteer with us in a variety of capacities - keep an eye out to find out about new opportunities.
  • You can tell us your thoughts via our public consultation.
  • You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.