THE HERITAGE PROJECT
The Heritage Project is a network of academics and practitioners with an interest in built heritage. It brings together scholars from a range of disciplines working on heritage and, crucially, engages with the agendas and priorities of its partners in the heritage sector, building in cross-sector collaboration from the outset to deliver real societal benefits. The Heritage Project is a reciprocal exercise based on a vision of a co-operative enterprise in which all parties learn from each other.
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MELLON CENTRE FOR MIGRATION STUDIES
The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies is a rather unique institution. Holding a specialist reference collection of over 18000 publications it is a fully integrated heritage library within Libraries NI. At the same time its main digital collection (containing over 33,000 transcribed, keyword searchable documents) draws significantly on the collections of PRONI. The Centre is situated on the site of the Ulster American Folk Park (National Museums Northern Ireland) and supports the interpretive and educational work and development of the museum. MCMS has been involved in a teaching partnership at postgraduate level with Queen’s University Belfast for more than 20 years and the Director (Dr Brian Lambkin) and Lecturer (Dr Paddy Fitzgerald) are actively engaged in research relating to Irish and international migration and diaspora. This field, we believe, is a rich and important way into Public History and through our close collaboration with staff at Queen’s over the past five years we hope that interns can engage in analysis of and discussion about public history issues in Ireland and across its diaspora.
NATIONAL MUSEUMS NI
Across three unique sites, National Museums NI cares for and presents our inspirational national collections that reflect the culture and people of Northern Ireland.
Our three sites
The Ulster Museum:
Located in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Museum is Northern Ireland's treasure house of the past and the present. Following a major re-development the museum re-opened in 2009, and in 2010 was awarded the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year. Its collections of art, history and natural science tell the story of the north of Ireland and its people from earliest times to the present day.
The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum:
Situated in Cultra, County Down, this unique site offers two museum experiences. In the Folk Museum, our collection of original and replica buildings from across Ulster takes visitors back in time to life here in the early 1900s. The Transport Museum houses a wide range of collections from steam locomotives, to cars to fire engines, and a dedicated gallery tells the story of Titanic and her sister ships, which were built in Belfast.
The Ulster American Folk Park:
At the Ulster American Folk Park visitors journey through the Irish emigration story. With 30 buildings and exhibits to explore, the site takes you from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship, to the log cabins of the American Frontier.
Hannah Crowdy is Head of Curatorial, with a remit across all National Museums NI sites, curatorial disciplines and the management of the national collections. Dr Karen Logan is Project Curator of the ‘Collecting the Troubles and Beyond’ project.
During the development of the Modern History gallery at the Ulster Museum we worked with a number of academics from Queen’s University Belfast and interviewed subject specialists to introduce each of the five sections of the gallery through audio-visual presentations. Many of the partnerships developed during that time continue today and the Ulster Museum has been pleased to host placements for Public History students, offer opportunities for volunteering and giving presentations to student groups on the work of the Museum.
Our current ‘Collecting the Troubles and Beyond’ project aims to widen the scope of the collection, supported by greater academic and community engagement, in order to enhance our interpretation of our recent past. Its main focus is on contemporary collecting and an associated programme of activities relating to Northern Ireland's recent past. Working in partnership with academics from a range of disciplines we have been exploring the extent to which current research be made relevant to a public audience through informing museum displays and interpretation. Consultation with academic advisors and community representatives helps to ensure that the interpretation put forward is both inclusive and balanced.
The Ulster Museum has long been viewed as a safe, shared venue of exploration and discovery for local people, in particular throughout the 30 years of the Troubles. The museum has an excellent track record of dealing with potentially contentious issues and events through sensitive interpretation and programming.
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