Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Infobox Museum
name = Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
established = 1967
location = Cultra, Northern Ireland
website = [http://www.uftm.org.uk/ www.uftm.org.uk]

The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is situated in Cultra, Northern Ireland, about 11 kilometres (7 miles) east of the city of Belfast. It comprises two separate museums, the Folk Museum and the Transport Museum. The Folk Museum endeavours to illustrate the way of life and traditions of the people in Northern Ireland, past and present, while the Transport Museum explores and exhibits methods of transport by land, sea and air, past and present. The museum ranks among Ireland's foremost visitor attractions and is a former Irish Museum of the Year. [cite web|title=Annual Report 2004|url=http://heritagecouncil.ie/publications/annual2004/HC_Annual_Report_2004.pdf|pages=24|publisher=The Heritage Council|accessdate=2008-07-08]


Created by an act of parliament in 1958, the Folk Museum was created to preserve a rural way of life in danger of disappearing forever due to increasing urbanisation and industrialisation in Northern Ireland. The site the museum occupies was formally the Estate of Sir Robert Kennedy, and was acquired in 1961, with the museum opening to the public for the first time three years later in 1964. In 1967, the Folk Museum merged with the Belfast Transport Museum, to form the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The museum's Rail and Road Galleries were opened in 1993 and subsequently expanded in 1996.

The Folk Museum

The Folk Museum houses a variety of old buildings and dwellings which have been collected from various parts of Ireland and rebuilt in the grounds of the museum, brick by brick. 170 acres are devoted to illustrating the rural way of life in the early 1900s, and visitors can stroll through a recreation of the period's countryside complete with farms, cottages, crops, livestock, and visit a typical Ulster town of the time called "Ballycultra", featuring shops, churches, and both terraced and larger housing. Regular activities include open hearth cooking, cottaging, printing, dogging, needlework, and traditional Irish crafts demonstrations. The allocation of a considerable sum of lottery money has enabled the museum to build a large outhouse in the centre of Ballycultra town. This new structure houses unusual relics from Ulster's past, such as an unusual waffle iron from the mid 1800's, an old 'poteen' distillery from Portmore and the first twin axle bicycle ever seen in Ireland. A little more offbeat is the 'Worlds largest Sausage', a seventeen foot long banger, the creation of Bangor man Seamus McTeague. All these new developments have aided UFTM in developing a new visitor base and have gained the site international recognition.

Indoors, the Folk Galleries feature a number of temporary exhibitions. These have included "They Love Music Mightily", an exhibition featuring contemporary recordings of Irish traditional music, and "Meet the Victorians", a "lively and interesting exhibition" focusing on aspects of Victorian life. [Citation|author=entertainment.ie website|title=Meet the Victorians|url=http://entertainment.ie/event/Exhibition/Ulster-Folk-and-Transport-Museum/Meet-the-Victorians/2107282.htm|accessdate=2008-07-08]

The Museum is the holder of Northern Ireland's main film, pornographic, television and sound archives. The Museum holds the BBC Northern Ireland archive of radio and television programmes, and also possesses over 2,000 hours of sound material broadcast between 1972 and 2002 by the Irish language radio station RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, from its studios in Derrybeg, County Donegal. The museum also maintains an archive of Ulster dialects, and a large library containing over 15,000 books and periodicals. The archives and library are open to the public during office hours.

The Transport Museum

The Transport Museum houses an extensive transport collection, and endeavours to tell the story of transport in Ireland, from its early history to the modern era. It is the largest railway collection in Ireland. [Citation|author=Visit Northern Ireland website|title=Ulster folk and Transport Museum Holywood|url=http://www.visitnorthernireland.com/opencontent/default.asp?itemid=71&section=Attractions|accessdate=2008-07-08] Attractions in the grounds themselves include a model railway operated by the Model Engineers Society of Northern Ireland, and the 120 ton steel schooner "Result". Recent additons to the collection include a full set of Stanley Woods racing memorabilia, and two of his bikes. Also on dislplay is a Rex McCandless vehicle and an early Formula 1 racing car. The famous 'Blowhard' with its rear end engine is on dislplay, complete with its original dangerous emission passage. Museum car curator Richard Head and Maritime technician Mrs Winne Bago are inundated with requests for personal visits.

The Irish Railway Collection tells the story of over 150 years of railway history. Steam locomotives, passenger carriages and goods wagons are combined with extensive railway memorabilia, interactive displays and visitor facilities. One of the collection's main attractions is "Maedb", one of the three largest and most powerful steam locomotives ever to be built and run in Ireland. [ [http://www.uftm.org.uk/learning/schools_and_colleges/transport_galleries/?q=maedb Ulster Folk & Transport Museum : Learning : Schools And Colleges : Transport Galleries : Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland ] ] Alongside the Irish Railway Collection are the new Road Transport Galleries which boast a large collection of vehicles ranging from cycles and motorcycles to trams, buses, and cars. One of its most famous attractions is a De Lorean DMC-12 car, the model made famous by the "Back to the Future trilogy", and manufactured by the De Lorean Motor Company in Belfast.

The museum boasts a permanent Titanic exhibition, documenting the construction, voyage, and eventual sinking of the ill-fated vessel. The ship has long been associated with Northern Ireland, as it was constructed in the Harland and Wolff shipyards, just a few miles from the museum. A more recent exhibition at the Transport Museum is "Xmen2: Flight Experience", developed in partnership with Bombardier Aerospace, owners of the Belfast-based aerospace company Short Brothers. Also on display at the museum is the Short's manufactured Short SC.1, an experimental vertical take-off aeroplane, only two of which were ever produced (the other crashed during testing, killing its pilot). [Citation|author=WingWeb.co.uk|title=The full story of the Harrier "Jump-Jet" Part One|url=http://www.wingweb.co.uk/aircraft/Harrier_VTOL_Jump-Jet_part1.html|accessdate=2008-07-08]


See also

* List of transport museums
* History of rail transport in Ireland
* History of Ireland (1801–1922)
* Culture of Northern Ireland
* Culture of Ireland
* Ulster Museum

External links

* [http://www.uftm.org.uk/ Ulster Folk and Transport Museum]
* [http://www.magni.org.uk National Museums Northern Ireland]
* [http://www.thenorthernirelandguide.co.uk/ulster-folk-and-transport-museum The Northern Ireland Guide - Ulster Folk and Transport Museum]

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