A new £1.3million visitor attraction at Belfast City Hall
17 May 2017
The new exhibition brings together artefacts from both traditions and cultures in a narrative agreed by all party leaders that charts the history of Belfast from quiet hamlet to the vibrant, innovative, attractive city it is today.
This self-guided visitor exhibition takes up the ground floor of the City Hall’s east wing fulfilling the council’s ambition to make the building more inclusive and welcoming. It also contributes to the council’s Belfast Agenda putting good relations front and centre of city centre regeneration.
A showcase of music, dance and street games in the Great Hall reflecting the energy and diversity of Belfast greeted Alderman Kingston as he arrived to officially open the exhibition.
He said: “Belfast City Hall is one of the most iconic visitor attractions in the city and while our tours have always proved popular, we wanted to add to the visitor experience, providing more information which will help them put our city, its traditions and culture into context.
“One of the most important aspects of this exhibition is that the narrative was agreed by all party leaders who have been open to examining every aspect of our past.
“After learning about our history, culture, tradition and politics the reflection space offers the opportunity to quietly review the traumatic events of Belfast’s most recent turbulent history and gradual move towards peace.
“Artefacts such as the table on which the Ulster Covenant against Home Rule for Ireland was signed, as well others previously stored in various nooks, crannies and safes now have pride of place in the exhibition,” said Alderman Kingston.
“Belfast is on the cusp of something exciting. The city is ready for investment and development that will create employment, prosperity and a bright future for all and members of the council are determined to work in partnership towards those goals – as well as ensuring we continue to provide the best possible services to our citizens.
“This exhibition makes an important contribution towards not only reminding us of how far we have come but also that Belfast was, and is, one of the world’s great cities, with a great history and even better future.
“Come along with your family and friends to enjoy this unique experience,” added the Lord Mayor.
Visitors will be able to journey through 16 rooms in the east wing of City Hall which has been divided into six separate zones highlighting different aspects of the city of Belfast.
The zones are Growth and Governance; At Work and Play; City Speech and City Streets; The City Commemorates; The Reflection Space; and The City Celebrates. They cover everything from our distinct dialect to street games, how the winds of rebellion in the late 18th century swept across us, the importance of our manufacturing and shipbuilding industries, the rise of trade unions, the First and Second World War, the Blitz, and our emergence from the ‘Troubles’ to the city we are today.
Entry is free, although there is a £3.50 charge for headsets. The exhibition will be open Monday to Friday from 9.30am-5pm with a late night on Thursday when it opens to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday the opening time will be 10am-5pm.
The ever popular tours of City Hall which also operate daily will continue to run alongside the exhibition.
The Bobbin Coffee Shop operated by Loaf Catering and Café, a social enterprise supporting people with learning disabilities to get training and jobs, is also open for business again following the east wing refurbishment.
More information on the new exhibition and our regular tours is available on our website www.belfastcity.gov.uk/cityhall