In Northern Ireland, history has a particularly close relationship to contemporary politics and cultural identity. Historical anniversaries and associated commemorations have frequently contributed to community tensions, as with the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1966. Events and figures from our past are often deployed to project cultural and political messages in the present.
Museums - through their institutional interpretation of history – can provide affirmation of identity, but can also expose people to new experiences and make them more receptive to new ideas. By presenting diverse narratives in an accessible and engaging way, museums can move public understanding beyond simplistic versions of history to more inclusive appreciation of the richness and complexity of our shared past. We encourage people to engage with not only with the histories they see as their own, but also those they consider belong to 'others'.
Over the course of this significant year, we will be presenting a diverse programme of exhibitions and events designed to explore the complex legacy of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland. It will simultaneously recognise and celebrate Northern Ireland’s diversity of identities and accommodate cultural difference. The spirit of the programme will be to explore the future as much as the past.