Major exhibition exploring Centenary | Nerve Centre and National Museums NI

16 June 2021

Making the future | NICRC

A major new exhibition at the Ulster Museum explores the impact and legacy of the events of 100 years ago.

The exhibition is part of Making the Future, a cross border cultural heritage programme from the Nerve Centre (who are core funded by the Community Relations Council), in partnership with National Museums NI, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and Linen Hall Library.

“Collecting the Past/Making the Future” draws objects from key collections to offer a view of events up around partition and the formation of Northern Ireland. The exhibition explores events over the past century and shows how they are relevant to us today and how the legacy of partition has had an impact on all our lives.

Over 200 objects are on display within the exhibition including portraits by Sir John Lavery, and a portrait of James Craig, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Niall Kerr, Project Manager of the Making the Future Programme at the Nerve Centre said:

“Making the Future is about giving the public opportunities to engage with our past, learn how it has shaped our present and to project ideas for the future. The impact and legacy of the events of 100 years ago are critical to understanding our shared history.”

The voices of young participants have also been recorded as part of the exhibition.

“Making the Future gives a voice to people of all ages and backgrounds,” Niall said, “and we’re delighted to include the voices of some of our younger participants as recordings in the exhibition as they reflect on collections that speak to issues of conflict, culture, society and identity. Throughout 2021 there will be increased opportunities for the public to get involved in innovative community engagement programmes and activity.”

The unique exhibition is part of National Museums NI’s 100 Years Forward programme, a planned multi-site series of activities throughout 2021.

William Blair, Director of Collections for National Museums NI, said:

Collecting the Past/Making the Future showcases objects that illustrate events and experiences from the past 100 years to encourage reflection on partition and the formation of Northern Ireland.”

The exhibition looks at the diversity of identities in Northern Ireland and hopes to encourage conversation and debate.

“The objects on display will mean different things to different people,” Willian said. “Visitors will be encouraged to become active participants in the exhibition and contribute their viewpoints about our collective future of the next century. We hope to encourage conversation and debate about, not only the past, but also the future.”

Interactive displays in the exhibition include a large-scale visitor-controlled projection asking the public to contribute their voice on some of the issues they feel are most important to them personally.

For opening times and further details visit

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