Fiona Byrne

Curator of History

  • Department: History
  • Email address: fiona.byrne@nmni.com

Core responsibilities:

Fiona looks after the Irish domestic folk collections at the Ulster Folk Museum and the Numismatics (coins, banknotes, medals, uniforms, weapons, stamps etc.) collections at the Ulster Museum.

She also is invested in reassessing and revisiting our Folk Collections, as well as committed to curatorially improving the sites of the Ulster Folk Museum. Fiona aspires to publish on the history and development of the Ulster Folk Museum.

Staff background:

Fiona’s academic background includes a BA Hons Degree in Modern History & the History of Science from Queen’s University and a MA in Cultural Heritage & Museums Studies from Ulster University. Throughout studying for her MA, she was a volunteer with the History Dept. at the Ulster Museum.

Fiona has worked at various types of museums; interactive children’s museum, local authority, national and open air. She started at National Museums NI in 2009 within Visitor Services and after obtaining a Level 5 vocational qualification in Collections Skills, Fiona moved to Collections within the History Dept. as a Curatorial Assistant. She was involved in the major refurbishment of the main history gallery at the Ulster Museum, Modern History. Temporary exhibitions include working on the Ulster Crisis: Irish Home Rule & the Ulster Covenant and Remembering 1916: Your Stories.

Fiona was also the History Engagement Officer for the Living Legacies 1914-18 centre, managed by QUB. This involved a number of community engagement events centred on exploring community history of the First World War. A highlight of this project was working with various community groups and speaking at an international conference at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Boston.

She was formally a Trustee on the Social History Curator’s Group and the Oral History Network Ireland. She has training in conducting oral history and reminiscence sessions. She is currently working to achieve her AMA with the Museums Association.

Staff interests:

Fiona’s interests include visiting other museum and heritage sites throughout Ireland and the UK, learning and taking inspiration from networking with other curators.

She enjoys fantasy novels such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Recently has started the Wheel of Life series in preparation for the adaption coming to Amazon Prime. She has keen interest in superhero films (Marvel more than DC!) but mostly all her time is spent with her children.

Exhibitions

Publications:

Byrne, F. (2011) Reality TV, Are you Serious? Irish Newsletter for Development Education Exchange (INDEX, Comhlámh) Issue 28.

Byrne, F. (2012) Community Forums: A Wealth of Social History at our Fingertips in Theory and Practice: SHCG Newsletter Issue 69.

Byrne, F. (2013) Campaign medals of Ross of Bladensburg in Object in Focus: SHCG Newsletter Issue 73.

Byrne, F. (2020) Remembering 1916: Your Stories in Inclusive Heritage in Practice; Lessons from the Living Legacies 1914-18 WW1 Public Engagement Centre

Media:

Webster, K, U Mass Lowell (2016) Divided Loyalties: Remembering World War I and the Irish Rising https://www.uml.edu/news/newsline/2016/remembering1916.aspx

Ita Dungan, BBC News (2018) How an old kitchen stove ended up as museum exhibit; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-45761616

Other blogs:

Living Legacies 1914-18 Blog