Immerse yourself in extraordinary art, natural science and history collections.
All of our galleries are open as usual for you to enjoy.
Whilst our recommended one-way flow system provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy our exhibitions at your leisure, we have also put a quick access route in place for those who prefer to go straight to the art galleries. Ask one of our Welcome Team for more details when you arrive.
Discover Art has reopened. Discover History and Discover Nature will remain closed for now but will reopen soon when we can guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience for our visitors and staff.
Here's what you can look forward to on your visit:
Art (Blue route)
La Belle Époque
A fabulous fashion exhibition of some of the most beautiful outfits from our permanent collection, including two incredibly significant recent donations on display for the first time: a silk satin wedding dress dating from 1896 and a magnificent and historically important court dress with train from dating from 1911. All of the fashion in this exhibition is from the 1870s to the 1910s, a relatively peaceful period in Western Europe often known as La Belle Époque - “the beautiful era.”
Collecting the Past/Making the Future. Marking Centenaries 2021
‘Collecting the Past/Making the Future. Marking Centenaries 2021’ will explore the impact and legacy of the events of 100 years ago while encouraging visitors to reflect on the future. Marking Centenaries 2021, this exhibition draws on objects from key collections at National Museums NI, and from partners across the island, to offer a view of the events up to and around partition and the formation of Northern Ireland. The exhibition explores events over the past 100 years and shows how they are relevant to us today and how the legacy of partition has had an impact on our lives.
WILLIE DOHERTY WHERE
A major new exhibition by Northern Irish leading artist, Willie Doherty WHERE presents an overview of Doherty’s career in photography and time-based media from the 1980s to now and includes a new work Where/Dove (dove is where in Italian) commissioned for the exhibition. WHERE explores the theme of borders, both real and imagined, a subject which has dominated Doherty’s work for over four decades.
History (Yellow route)
CultureLab is a place to take a good, hard look at the cultural stereotypes that we all know surround us in Northern Ireland. This exhibition poses questions about culture and offers a glimpse into how identities have been, and continue to be, shaped in Ireland and Northern Ireland. See the famous ‘Differences’ blackboard from the hit TV series Derry Girls, on public display for the very first time, and test your preconceptions with an interactive religion calculator quiz.
And don’t forget to check out our new history exhibition Collecting the Past/Making the Future. Marking Centenaries 2021 too!
Nature (Red route)
Take a journey from actinium to zirconium – from the rocks beneath your feet to the most distant and ancient reaches of the universe. In this unique exhibition – the only one of its kind in Europe – you’ll discover what the elements look like, how they occur naturally, how we use them, and why they can be dangerous.
Fossils and Evolution
Explore spectacular fossils from a ‘graveyard’ of tiny ammonite shells to a toothsome, four-metre long fish. See skulls of dwarf elephants and giant deer. Discover why your skeleton isn’t that different from a monkey, a mouse or a mole.