close X

COVID-19 Update

The Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk Museum, Ulster Transport Museum and Ulster American Folk Park are all reopened.  We’re looking forward to welcoming you back!  Pre-book your date and time slot online now.

More information

Troubles

Troubles

The history of Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the present day has been dominated by the civil and political conflict known as ‘the Troubles.’ The events that took place here after 1968 have impacted not just the people of Northern Ireland, but people across the world. Our collection covers themes of politics and conflict, and the impact of both on everyday life, people and communities.

Part of our collecting process has involved consultation with communities, encouraging people to share direct testimony and bring in items to ensure multiple perspectives are represented. The objects, photographs, political ephemera and artwork in the Troubles collection represent a wide range of experiences. The Troubles collection includes items directly associated with the conflict – a rubber bullet, improved explosive devices, firearms and a bomb disposal robot. There is a large collection of material associated with the Northern Ireland Prison Service as well as crafts and artwork created by prisoners in Armagh Women’s Gaol, HM Prison Maze and Magilligan. There are many emotive objects in the collection and those that remain contested in terms of significance and meaning amongst those who experienced the conflict. While we have a shared past, we do not have a shared memory and it is through engaging with this collection that we have been able to encourage and open discussion that considers different viewpoints.

As with the Troubles and Beyond exhibition, the Troubles collection is not exclusively focussed on the conflict, but relates to contemporary history and therefore includes objects that represent our wider social, cultural and economic history. The collection is a dynamic one and it continues to be developed and refined. Recently acquired items include George Best’s Northern Ireland football jersey, a puppet of Gerry Adams from the TV series Spitting Image, material relating to the life and career of Belfast-born actor James Ellis and a collection of Pride t-shirts dating from 1991 when the first march was held in Belfast. We are constantly working to build and develop our contemporary collection to show social change, working life, arts and culture, and the ever changing environment around us. The Troubles did not take place in a vacuum. The reality of life is reflected in our personal memories and the photographs and mementoes that underpin our family history.

Do you have objects, photographs or stories that you would like to share with the museum? If so, we would be interested to hear from you. Please contact Rebecca Laverty, Assistant Curator of History, on 028 9039 5164 or Rebecca.Laverty@nmni.com.

Art of the Troubles

The Ulster Museum also has the largest collection of art works that relate to the Troubles. Throughout the 30 year period and up until today artists from Northern Ireland and beyond have responded to the conflict through their artistic practice.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection (2012) makes up a large proportion of the Troubles Art collection and includes seminal works by artists such as T.P. Flanagan, Joseph McWilliams and Rita Duffy. It also represents Northern Irish performance art, an important artistic practice that developed during the conflict. See here for interviews with the artists.

Some of the earliest responses to the Troubles related specifically to deaths as a result of particular shootings or bombings. Later work reflected on the wider political and social situation and the causes and effects of the conflict. Themes have emerged which resonate through the subsequent decades – the physicality of violence, suffering and loss, dereliction and abandonment, the meaning and power of flags and symbols. The imagery used by artists often makes an obvious and direct connection to these themes. It can also be more subtle in conveying a deep sense of emotion and trauma.

However, with the dominant narrative of violence becoming more distant, artists seem more occupied with the ensuing social, economic, cultural and political changes and challenges. As Northern Ireland faces these issues, art will continue to offer unique avenues for exploring and reflecting upon the manifestations and impact of violence and of division in our society.

Searchable list of collections

430 items found.
View 
 Items per page
If no image shows this may be due to copyright restrictions. Please contact picture.library@nmni.com who will be happy to help.
HAT; Ulster Defence Association Camouflaged Hat

HAT; Ulster Defence Association Camouflaged Hat

Ulster Defence Association camouflaged hat. Button up side piece, printed triangular badge of violet with purple outline map of the six counties, unde...

O' Reilly

O' Reilly

Green and white poster for James O'Reilly for South Down, an Independant Nationalist candidate for Assembly Elections 1973. O'Reilly received 2,000 fi...

Ulster Still Says No

Ulster Still Says No

Poster issued by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, promoting an anti Anglo-Irish Agreement rally at Belfast City Hall. Printed black on orange, 'Ulst...

Poster

Poster

Poster of a mural that was painted on 1/9/97 by the Bogside Artists in Derry. The mural depicts scenes from the 'Battle of the Bogside' and features ...

For God and Ulster

For God and Ulster

Woodvale Defence Association (W.D.A) Newsletter, Price 3 pence. Includes a memoriam to the three Scottish soldiers who were murdered in Ligoniel 10 Ma...

Republican calendar

Republican calendar

Republican Resistance Calendar 1997....

The Shankill Disturbances

The Shankill Disturbances

Booklet entitled 'The Shankill Disturbances.' A Series of Eye-Witness Accounts compiled by an Ulster Defence Association Press Team.' This unofficial ...

Photographic print

Photographic print

Photomontage of image of Vanguard leader Willaim Craig and image of Terrence O'Neill mounted together on board. Unionist rivals Terence O’Neill and Wi...

British Connection

British Connection

Poster issued by the Unionist Publicity Department in March 1973 to urge support for the British connection during the Referendum on the subject. Prin...

Weekly Report

Weekly Report

Weekly Report, 1-7 October 1973 Issue 30. Headlines include 'Court News, 'Arms and Explosives Finds.' This weekly report provided a round up of news f...

VOTE PAISLEY

VOTE PAISLEY

Adhesive circular badge; VOTE PAISLEY, Printed and published by Puritan Printing Co. Ltd....

'74 The Year of Liberty

'74 The Year of Liberty

Poster produced by the Provisional IRA (Irish Republican Army) in early 1974. Black and white photographic image of a man with a mask behind a wall wi...

Vanguard Notice

Vanguard Notice

'Vanguard Notice' advising that the organisation has instructed associate members of the Loyalist Association of Workers within Vanguard whio work in ...

Steveson No. 1

Steveson No. 1

Northern Ireland Labour Party poster featuring candidate Stevenson for Derry, poster produced for the Northern Ireland Assembly election of June 1973....

Left Unattended

Left Unattended

This poster is one of a number produced by the security forces asking car owners to remain vigilant. 'Left Unattended? - Your car could become a bomb ...

No. 1 Conaty

No. 1 Conaty

Poster printed black on white with photograph of candidate, Conaty, issued by the SDLP (Social Democratic Labour Party) for the Northern Ireland Coven...

SDLP Vote Caraher

SDLP Vote Caraher

Poster issued by the SDLP, Candidate Caraher for South Belfast Assembly Elections 1973. Ben Caraher stood for the SDLP in South Belfast and received 3...

Refuse Eire Money - Boycott

Refuse Eire Money - Boycott

Poster issued by the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, an organisation chaired by Rev. Ian Paisley, in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The poster ...

Hands Off The UDR

Hands Off The UDR

Poster issued by the Democratic Unionist Party, printed green, red and dark brown on white. 'Royal Ulster Defence Regiment - Not Royal Irish. Hands Of...

Vote No

Vote No

Poster issued by the Democratic Unionist Party. Printed in red and black on white. 'British Democracy or Brussels Dictorship - Which? Vote No to the C...

The Reform of Stormont

The Reform of Stormont

This pamphlet was produced by the reformist pressure group the New Ulster Movement in 1971. The NUM was formed early in 1969 and generally took a refo...

Wallet

Wallet

Loyalist wallet made in H.M.P The Maze: Long Kesh by a UVF prisoner from East Belfast. It features a picture of King William on a white horse....

Conflict in Northern Ireland

Conflict in Northern Ireland

Booklet entitled 'Conflict in Northern Ireland' by Hugh Shearman, reprinted from the Year Book of World Affairs, 1970. A description and analysis of e...

ULSTER

ULSTER

Ulster Vanguard Pass, R. Craig, stamped Central Vanguard Committee....

Don't Believe any Rumours

Don't Believe any Rumours

This poster was produced under the name of Oglaigh na hEireann – the IRA. 'Don't Believe any Rumours, Republican aims are still the same, England out ...

Close filter panel
  • Object type
  • Maker
  • Dates
  • Place made
  • Materials
  • Purchase print
  • With Images