National Museums NI is launching its year-long programme entitled Hear Her Voice today (Tuesday) to coincide with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act which was the first milestone in women’s journey to gain the right to vote.
To mark the year, National Museums NI will be highlighting the women in its collections through a series of exhibitions and events across the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and Ulster American Folk Park.
A full schedule of talks and film screenings will take place at the Ulster Museum. The programme kicks off this Sunday, 11 February, with a lecture there on Winning the Vote: The Irish Suffrage Movement with Dr Margaret Ward, Visiting Fellow in the School of History Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast.
The Ulster Museum is also planning a full programme of exhibitions. Highlights include Headland, a major exhibition of new work by acclaimed County Antrim artist Elizabeth Magill, in partnership with Limerick City Gallery of Art and RHA, Dublin. Wicked Wit: Darly’s Comic Prints – an exhibition from the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin - will feature over 100 hand-coloured comic prints produced in London by Mary Darly and her husband Matthew.
Meanwhile, a trail through the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum will highlight the stories of women connected to the museum’s expansive folk life and transport collections.
In the summer the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh will open a new exhibition, A Step in Time: The Story of Irish Dance, which will draw on folk life collections of National Museums NI to showcase objects associated with Irish Dance at home and abroad.
Laura McCorry, Director of Public Engagement for National Museums NI, said: “We’ve been exploring the Decade of Centenaries through our collections over the past few years, a time between 1912 and 1921 when Ireland was transformed by war and revolution. As part of that period, the Representation of the People Act, 100 years ago, marked a significant moment when women became increasingly visible within public and political life.
“Hear Her Voice is an opportunity for National Museums NI to encourage discussion on what empowerment of women meant throughout history and what it continues to mean for women worldwide today. At National Museums NI we are looking deeper into the women in our collections and their stories so we can better represent their contributions to society.”
She added: “2018 gives us an exciting opportunity to highlight and celebrate the power and achievements of women. We hope this theme and the diverse range of exhibitions and events we will showcase will encourage all our visitors to engage with and enjoy the collections and celebrate women with us!”
Tickets for Dr Margaret Ward’s talk Winning the Vote: The Irish Suffrage Movement at the Ulster Museum on Sunday 11 February at 3pm can be booked online. For further details on this and the Hear Her Voice programme of exhibitions and events visit www.nmni.com/HearHerVoice