To link in with the recently launched exhibition, “Remembering 1916: Your Stories”, National Museums Northern Ireland, in collaboration with the Living Legacies Centre and other partners, has put together a programme of activities and events for members of the public. The programme includes talks and workshops, curator-led tours, drama productions, film screenings, musical events, a period fashion show, and family activities. Among the forthcoming events are free workshops on researching First World War Ancestors.
A series of free lunchtime lectures has also been arranged for the first Wednesday of the month, which will take place until November 2016. The next one, to be held on Wednesday 4 May, will focus on “Women, War and Revolution in Ireland” and will be given by Dr Margaret Ward.
This weekend is your last chance to see illustrations at the Ulster Museum, Belfast, of individuals involved in, or connected, with the events of Easter Week 1916. The exhibition, ‘1916: Portraits and Lives’, was developed by the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. It contains prints of 42 scraperboard illustrations by David Rooney of a variety of people – men and women, British and Irish, combatants and pacifists. Taken together they exhibit how Irish history is nuanced and multi-layered.
In the captions you can get a sense of the background of each of the individuals and their motivations. The exhibition includes not only the insurgents (and some others) killed during the rising but also some of the women who were involved as soldiers or in supporting capacities; three nationalist leaders who opposed the rising; some of the senior figures in the British administration in Ireland in 1916; members of the British army that suppressed the rising; and two historians who made considerable contributions to the scholarly debate on 1916.
Whilst at the Ulster Museum be sure to visit the Museum’s own new temporary exhibition, “Remembering 1916: Your Stories”, which will be on until March 2017. This exhibition, developed in collaboration with the Living Legacies Engagement Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, includes a variety of rare and compelling objects connected with the Easter Rising, the Battle of the Somme and the enduring legacies of these two key events.
Case from “Remembering 1916”, showing artefacts relating to the Easter Rising
Prof. Keith Lilley, Director of the Living Legacies Centre and William Blair, Head of Human History at National Museums Northern Ireland looking at the blood-stained notebook of a soldier from Co. Londonderry who was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
Have you ever wanted to see a 3D printer in action? Or handle an object from the First World War?
Annually in March Creativity Month celebrates creativity and the creative industries. As part of this, on Saturday 19 March the Ulster Museum will be hosting a free Digital Fabrication Family Day from 11.30am – 4pm. The event is offered in collaboration with the Nerve Centre’s Creative Centenaries project and FabLab team, who will be bringing along some of the latest digital technology.
The Ulster Museum’s First World War handling collection will also feature, allowing people to see and interact with original objects up close. In addition, Creative Centenaries will showcase its resources and have pop-up animations, green screen areas and more.
Workshops will allow the public to laser cut and build their own trench periscope, design and cut their own map-based jigsaw, 3D print a model of the Lusitania or screen print re-creations of First World War recruitment posters.
Come along and get involved! Drop in for the workshops in the Museum’s Learning Zone, re-imagine and reinterpret First World War objects and artefacts, learn some new skills and see some of the latest digital technology in operation.
National Museums Northern Ireland in partnership with Living Legacies 1914-18, the Centre for Data Digitisation & Analysis and the Nerve Centre have been working on an interactive touchtable featuring 1916 content.
This table features 3D scans of some of National Museums Northern Ireland First World War collections such as the German Medic uniform, the trench periscope, medals and the field telephone.
The group of lantern slides found in a box in the organ loft of Alexandra Presbyterian Church, in early 2013, are now fully documented and digitized on the National Museums Northern Ireland collections online page.
The images were of soldiers and sailors in First World War uniforms. Alexandra is made up of two congregations, that of York Street and Castleton Presbyterian Churches. There are 77 lantern slides in total which were made by the famous photographer Mr Alex. R. Hogg. The committee minutes of Castleton Church state that in 1918 Alex. R. Hogg was asked to put together a lantern slide exhibition ‘of our men at the front’ which was to be shown on 16th December 1918.
The original slides were donated to the Ulster Museum in 2014. These slides are now part of an ongoing research project working to identify all the men in the images.
Do you recognise anyone in these images? Please see: http://castletonlanterns.co.uk/ for more information on the Castleton Lanterns Project and help identify the soldiers in these images.
This morning, National Museums Northern Ireland hosted the Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee meeting. I joined them for lunch and went with them on a the tour of the Ballycultra village in the Folk Museum. Each site such as the labourer’s cottage, the pharmacy, the corner shop, the bank and the post office all show visitors what life was like here in Ireland during the war.
These tours launched last July to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and were organised by NMNI History staff and the Living Legacies History Engagement Officer. Visitors can avail of the guided tour or self-guided and there is a war panel for each site providing information.
This morning I met with the son, nephew and grand-nephew of Thomas John Moulds who came to visit to view Thomas’s war campaign medals. Thomas was awarded all three British war campaign medals; the British medal, the Victory medal and the 1914-15 Star.
Thomas, born near Lisburn, emigrated to Canada in 1913 and enlisted on August 22nd 1914 along with one of his brothers in a Canadian Regiment. He served with distinction at the second battle of Ypres and at the Somme. In 1916 he was promoted to Company Sergeant Major and took part in the capture of Sorral.
Thomas was also awarded the Military Cross at Courellette in September 1918. Here he commanded a platoon holding position, under heavy artillery fire until they were relieved three days later. Official record states that this position was of extreme importance, and if evacuated it would have placed the troops in a very perilous position.
On 27th September, 1918 at Bourlon Wood he was mortally wounded. It was for his gallant conduct in these operations that the posthumous award of a bar to his Military Cross was made.
Thomas’s niece donated these medals, along with his Canadian Casualty Memorial Cross and the Next of Kin Memorial Plaque in 1980. This is their first time seeing their family war medals and are extremely proud of their ancestor and part he played in the war effort and to be awarded the Military Cross and Bar for bravery in the field.
The BBC documentary, which aired in November 2014, focused on the Ulster Museum’s Hackney Collection. The Hackney collection consists of his wartime diaries and his photographic album.
During the Home Rule Crisis of 1912, George Hackney joined the Young Citizen Volunteers (YCV). At the outbreak of war, the YCV became the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, who were sent to France in October 1915. Now a Lance Corporal, George saw action at the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916, where many of his friends and comrades were killed and wounded. Suffering from shell shock he was eventually in September 1916 shipped to a hospital in Sheffield, then back to Ireland. He served out the rest of the War in Ireland and England.
This morning myself and a colleague were invited to the opening of the first of four Great War travelling exhibitions from North Down Museum. This exhibition was opened by the Mayor of North Down and curated by World War 1 Project Officer Rebecca Gordon.
This exhibition will travel around other local venues to reach out to other audiences.
North Down Museum are also organising a World War One summer picnic on Saturday 1st August. This will offer visitors a World War 1 themed summer picnic with period food and hear the brass band play war-time tunes. There will be ongoing living history demonstrations and the day will end with the planting of a ceremonial tree in honour of those who contributed to the war effort. This is being organised in partnership with the Woodland Trust.