Ulster Museum

Belfast, United Kingdom

The Ulster Museum, located in the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, has around 8,000 square metres of public display space, featuring material from the collections of fine art and applied art, archaeology, ethnography, treasures from the Spanish Armada, local history, numismatics, industrial archaeology, botany, zoology and geology. It is the largest museum in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Museum was founded as the Belfast Natural History Society in 1821 and began exhibiting in 1833. It has included an art gallery since 1890. Originally called the Belfast Municipal Museum and Art Gallery, in 1929, it moved to its present location in Stranmillis. The new building was designed by James Cumming Wynne.

The museum contains significant finds from Northern Ireland, although in earlier periods these were often sent to the British Museum or later Dublin, as with the Broighter Hoard, now in the National Museum of Ireland. Objects in the museum include the Malone Hoard of 19 polished Neolithic axe heads, the Moss-side Hoard of Mesolithic stone tools, the important Downpatrick Hoard of Bronze Age gold jewellery, part of the Late Roman Coleraine Hoard, the Viking Shanmullagh Hoard, and the medieval coins in the Armagh City Hoard and Armagh Castle Street Hoard.

There are other significant objects of the Bronze Age gold jewellery for which Ireland is notable, including four of the 100-odd surviving gold lunulae, and some important early Celtic art, including a decorated bronze shield found in the River Shannon, and the Bann Disk, bronze with triskele decoration.



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Founded: 1929
Category: Museums in United Kingdom

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gabriela Ortiz (6 months ago)
It's a very nice museum. What I loved was that they have some "Discovery rooms" were kids can put their hands on, my son was very happy when he saw those rooms, he felt happy drawing and finding animals.
Trudy-Jo Daniels (6 months ago)
I loved the experience, there was lots to see and plenty of space, so it did not feel crowded. The indoor tropical garden was amazing. I wish there were more areas which dedicated kids sections though. There is so much to learn but it's a but much for our littles. I will definitely be returning to roam some more.
Hannah Schaus (8 months ago)
Excellent museum with so much packed it. You could spend ages in here. Came with kids aged 7-9 and they all were enthralled too. Definitely recommended.
Matthew Law (8 months ago)
Very full museum with items and exhibitions for everyone. When I attended there was a beautiful class and ceramics exhibitions on the top level. Followed by a few levels of natural history from pre-historic to present day, with some exhibitions including the Egyptians and Spanish. One of my favourite parts was the annual competition for the art students at Queens University, some great displays of talent. The whole tour took me about 3 hours, but you could spend more or less time, depending what you're into.
Craig Smith (11 months ago)
Ulster Museum is an excellent visitor attraction covering all things Northern Ireland and more. From a room devoted solely to the history of the troubles, to modern art, fashion of the 1920s, classic paintings/portraits, dragon sculptures, dinosaur fossils, crystals and rocks Egyptian mummies and more. Attended with my son who commented that the museum was much more interesting than he thought it would be. I particularly enjoyed the Egyptian mummy exhibit and the wooden dragon sculptures on the ceiling. The troubles exhibit brings history to life for those who haven't lived with it on the news. The museum is over 5 levels all accessible by lift for those that need it. There is a cafe on the ground floor. I didn't use it but it seemed busy. If you are looking for the museum it didn't appear particularly well sign posted. Only once we got to the gates for the botanic Gardens did we see a sign post, there didn't appear to be any on the street we walked up to get there. The museum is not open on Mondays. I would recommend a visit to anyone in Belfast and it's deserving of a generous donation as you leave.
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