The Braid - Mid-Antrim Museum

The Braid - Mid-Antrim Museum
The Braid
1-29 Bridge Street
Co. Antrim
BT43 5EJ
Northern Ireland




028 2565 7161


028 2563 5941

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The Mid-Antrim Museum at The Braid features galleries showcasing an impressive collection of fascinating artefacts of both local and national significance, alongside an exciting range of changing exhibitions.

The use of interactive media brings history to life - as visitors are enticed to step back in time in a multi-sensory experience - while adjoining displays of artefacts are complimented by dramatic images of the local landscape. Together they provide an all-encompassing evocative experience.

The Museum features a varied range of events and exhibitions throughout the year. Also on offer are curriculum-linked programmes focusing on early man in Ireland, the Victorians and the Second World War. These interactive sessions provide engaging and enjoyable experiences for children, bring history to life in a memorable way. Other programmes, for people of all ages, are developed in line with visiting exhibitions.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

All year round
Mon-Fri 10.00am - 5.00pm
Sat 10.00am - 4.00pm
Public/Bank Holidays - check local papers or ring 028 2563 5900

Closed: Sundays

Admission charges

Free Admission

Social History Collection dating from the late 19th and 20th centuries reflecting the history and heritage of the Borough of Ballymena and the wider Mid-Antrim area. The Museum's History Gallery features material from the collection on display reflecting the collection's strengths and significant material loaned from National institutions. The Museum's Atrium space boasts a 14 metre high 'collection wall' where tiles illustrating objects from the Museum's reserve collection can be explored through a touch screen interactive. A range of outreach and education programmes provide access to the collections.

Collection details

Weapons and War, Trade and Commerce, Social History, Religion, Photography, Music, Literature, Law and Order, Land Transport, Industry, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology, Agriculture

Key artists and exhibits

  • Braidwater Spinning Mill Roll of Honour
  • Braidwater Mill photographic archive
  • Brotherhoods material
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

History Gallery

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

The History Gallery offers intriguing and revealing themes that explore identity, people and place. The gallery tells the story of mid-Antrim from earliest times to the present day, wrapped in its national and international context.

The use of interactive media brings history to life - as visitors are enticed to step back in time in a sensory experience - while adjoining displays of artefacts are complimented by dramatic images of the local landscape. Together they provide an all-encompassing evocative experience.

The story features historical highlights including the archaeology of prehistoric times and the turbulent medieval period - revealed through fascinating material from the Ulster Museum and the National Museum of Ireland. 'The Distant Past' gallery reflects early human settlement in mid-Antrim and will feature a fascinating range of prehistoric artefacts on loan from Ulster Museum. 'Shifting Frontiers: Mid-Antrim AD 500 - 1500' explores the medieval history of the region through a range of artefacts on loan from the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.

Other highlights include a model of the Clough Castle in the 1480s and an audio-visual presentation showing how this strategically important site was part of an evolving network of castles in north east Ulster. One of the fascinating items being loaned by the National Museum of Ireland is a medieval dagger found at the site.

The Museum also traces the theme of war and conflict from the seventeenth century to the two World Wars of the twentieth century. The social and industrial history of mid-Antrim also features strongly through a range of personal stories. Many local people will remember the Braid Water Mill and Phoenix Weaving Factory, along with local shops like Morrow's and Simon McCrory's, all of which feature in the new gallery.

Interactive Collection Wall

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

Visitors begin their journey when they enter the Museum Atrium, a dramatic fourteen metre high space that contains a number of special installations that are designed to introduce themes of people and place, along with the role of the collection in reflecting local history and identity.

The centrepiece is a 11m x 17m Collection Wall featuring a representative selection of artefacts in the collection. The stories behind these objects can be explored through a touch screen interactive terminals in the atrium.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Museum Exhibition Programme 2015

  • 8 October 2014 — 1 November 2015 *on now

January - mid February: A Boy from Browndodd Hill: Rural Life in 1940's Co Antrim
mid February - mid March: gallery closed (Ballymena FEIS)
mid March - mid April: Annual Northern Ireland Photographic Exhibition
May-August: Gallipoli James Hughes, photographer (Great War exhibition)
May-June: Building Legacies (Charles Lanyon)
September - October: Irielands Eyes (photographic exhibition)
September-November: Answer The Call (Great War posters)
December- February 2016: Maurice Orr
December: Ways of Seeing (Community based project)

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free admission

Museums at Night at Mid-Antrim Museum

  • 15 May 2015 7-8:30pm

This free event will be a chance for all ages to come along and sample what Mid-Antrim Museum at the Braid has to offer for all ages. Visitors will be able to access all museum exhibitions over three floors of the building, learning about the museum collections and local history along the way.

Starting off in the atrium with its huge collection wall, visitors will be introduced to the museum collection and be able to take part in hands on activities before making your way to level two and three. There will be two temporary exhibitions open to visitors during the evening, 'Gallipoli 1915 and 2015' and 'Building Legacies', an exhibition on the work of Charles Lanyon.

On the third floor you will reach the museum's permanent displays which will transport you through the ages and where there will be plenty more activities for all to enjoy.

The Braid Arts Centre will be hosting The Methodist Art Collection exhibit which will also be open as part of Museums at Night. Come and join us for this informal evening in the museum to find out more about the exciting history of your local town.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.
Neolithic Arrow Head

Early Man and Materials

Key Stage Two programme lasting 1 & 1/2 hours.
This interactive session uses museum objects, activities and role play to explore how Stone Age man (and woman) lived interdependently with his environment, used the materials available to him and adapted over time.

How to obtain

Ring Noreen on 028 2563 5925 or email noreen.mullan@ballymena.

Any session, any term, any time! This programme is available throughout the academic year.

Cost: £1.50 per pupil.

Food Ration Book

Rationing and Raids

Key Stage One, Programmes lasts 1 hour & 15 minutes
This interactive session explores the local Home Front during the Second World War. Pupils experience the sounds and emotions of the Belfast Blitz from the safety of an Anderson Shelter. As the sirens roar and the bombers fly by, pupils discuss their feelings, emotions and the practicalities of staying in teh shelter.
The secont part of the session allows pupils to explore the theme ofrationing through hands-ons activities.