Northern Ireland

Orange Order opens new history museum in Belfast

Orangeman Charles Thomas Hall Image copyright Graham Curry Photography
Image caption Charles Thomas Hall, from Connecticut in the USA, was the first visitor to the new museum

The Orange Order has opened the doors of its new history museum in east Belfast that it hopes will be "transformational in Northern Ireland".

The Museum of Orange Heritage will allow visitors to learn more about the roots and history of Orangeism in Ireland and around the world.

The museum was part-funded by £3.6m of EU peace-fund money.

Dr David Hume of the Orange Order said he wanted to give people a "better, more informed view of who we are".

"We, in turn, will have a better, more informed view of their opinions," he added.

Image copyright Graham Curry Photography
Image caption The replica lodge room contains a stained-glass window in memory of Orange members killed during the Troubles

Charles Thomas Hall, an Orangeman from Connecticut in the United States, was the first visitor to the new museum.

Visitors will be able to learn about Orange symbols and regalia, play instruments, and listen to different types of band music.

A collarette belonging to former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer George Best when he was in the junior Royal Black Institution is on display.

A roll of honour of famous members of the Orange details the history of people, like Dr Thomas Barnardo, whose philanthropic work led to the foundation of children's charity Barnardos.

Image caption George Best's collarette from his time in the junior Royal Black Institution is on display in the museum

Dr Hume said the museum aims to promote reconciliation through education, and there was a desire to "challenge people in terms of their perceptions of Orangeism".

"We want anybody who wants to come in here," he said.

"We have a very strong engagement with the maintained school sector, we definitely want children from that sector to be here and to learn about our traditions.

"We also want pupils from the state sector to be here because we feel there's a deficit there in terms of their understanding and knowledge."

Image copyright Graham Curry Photography
Image caption The museum was part-funded by £3.6m of EU peace-fund money

Related Topics

More on this story