Ulster Museum

venue representative image
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

Northern Ireland's treasure house of the past and present.
Take 8,000 square metres of galleries, add rich collections of art, archaeology, local history and natural sciences, mix them with a constantly changing programme of temporary exhibitions and events, and you have all the ingredients for a fascinating voyage of discovery. From ancient Ireland to the South Pacific, from masterpieces of modern art to rare flowers, the Museum is a window to the north of Ireland and a window on the world.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Tues-Sun 10:00 - 17:00

Closed: Mon

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

Carparking within the Museum grounds is only available for visitors with a disability. Please call in advance to book.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Industry, Natural Sciences, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History, Toys and Hobbies, Weapons and War, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Fine and Applied Arts
  • Archaeology
  • Ethnography
  • Local History
  • Natural History
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Lavery's World

  • 28 February 2014 — 17 January 2016 *on now

Sir John Lavery is best known as a society portraitist and for a remarkable series of formal portraits of politicians and prelates. This small exhibition looks instead at the private world of Sir John Lavery, and brings together portraits he painted of his wife and muse, Hazel, his daughter Eileen and step-daughter Alice. The exhibition sets the scene for these family portraits by including landscapes of places, such as Tangier in North Africa, which he visited many times.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Elements: From Actinium to Zirconium

  • 7 March 2014 — 28 February 2016 *on now

From Actinium to Zirconium, it’s time to get switched on to science with a journey along the periodic table! Get set for an odyssey that will take you from the rocks beneath your feet to the most distant and ancient reaches of the Universe.

From microscopic viruses to vast galaxies – and you too – all are made from elements. In this new exhibition, find out where the elements were made, how they occur naturally, what they look like, how we use them, and why they can be dangerous!

Suitable for

  • Any age



Colin Davidson, Silent Testimony

  • 5 June 2015 — 17 January 2016 *on now

An exhibition of portrait paintings by Colin Davidson (born 1968), reveals the stories of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the Troubles - a turbulent 30-year period in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s onwards.

Since 2010, Davidson has become internationally renowned for his series of large-scale portraits of actors, musicians, poets and writers. While painting these familiar faces, he became increasingly preoccupied, not with their celebrity, but more with their status as human beings. This continuing exploration of ‘common humanity’ is the foundation on which Silent Testimony rests.

Until now, the artist, who grew up in Belfast and studied art at the University of Ulster, has not responded overtly to what he witnessed or personally experienced during the Troubles. Silent Testimony is a powerful response which reflects on how the conflict has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on thousands of individuals - the injured, their families, the families of those who died and the wider community.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Framed: People & Place in Irish Photography

  • 19 June 2015 — 30 May 2016 *on now

The invention of photography in 1839 was one of the most significant achievements in the history of human communications.

Photographs capture a moment in time in exact likeness, allowing us to see what people in the past saw – or what others wanted them to see. In doing so, they enable history to speak to us directly and with great clarity.

The Ulster Museum’s collections of historic photographs date from the 1850s and comprise many thousands of images relating to the history, topography and personalities of Ireland. This exhibition concentrates on the twin themes of people and place to illustrate the range and depth of these collections and how the photographers they represent framed and shaped our view of the past.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Things Left Unsaid

  • 18 September 2015 — 3 April 2016 *on now

A recurrent theme in Seawright’s work as a photographer is the suggestion that the real subject or event has taken place elsewhere. The power of his images often rests on what is not shown or directly described.

Things Left Unsaid (2014) is a series of photographs of US television news studios in which the war in Iraq was reported. Seawright focuses on the illusory nature of these spaces, where information is selectively transformed into news. The absent images of the brutality and destruction of war are the real subject of these photographs, they are the ‘things left unsaid’.

Suitable for

  • Any age



New Art New Nature

  • 10 October 2015 — 10 January 2016 *on now

This exhibition, largely drawn from the Ulster Museum collection, looks at the role of nature in the work of Irish and International artists over the past seventy years.

The display begins with the Oceania textiles (1946) made by Matisse at the end of his career, when illness prevented him from painting. The ‘cut-out’ forms are designed to give a sense of the limitless freedom, lightness and space he had experienced when swimming in the South Seas in 1930.

Matisse referred to ‘the irrepressibility of nature’ and this theme was taken up by William Scott in The Four Seasons Mural, (1959-62) for Altnagelvin Hospital, in which he translated the cyclical rhythms of the seasons into a highly accomplished abstract composition.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition

  • 16 October 2015 — 3 January 2016 *on now

The Royal Ulster Academy’s 134th Annual Exhibition features work by Academy members, invited artists and artists selected through open submission. This annual exhibition showcases original works across the disciplines of the visual arts (including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and video) from emerging artists to the biggest names in Irish art.

This year’s exhibiting artists include Betty Brown ARUA, Ursula Burke, Azahara Cerezo, David Crone RUA, Colin Davidson RUA, Rita Duffy RUA, Denise Ferran PRUA, Mark Francis , Julian Friers RUA, Mercedes Helnwein, Ronnie Hughes, Brendan Jamison ARUA, Sharon Kelly RUA, Elizabeth Magill RUA, Alice Maher, Joe McWilliams RUA, Mick O’Dea, Paul Seawright RUA, Neil Shawcross RUA, Mark Shields RUA, Bob Sloan RUA, Hannah Starkey, Mavis Thompson ARUA, Jennifer Trouton RUA and Keith Wilson RUA.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Ulster Museum
Botanic Gardens
Co. Antrim
Northern Ireland







0845 608 0000


028 9038 3030


028 9038 3110

Press & PR

028 9038 3111

Minicom for Hearing Impaired

028 9038 3008



028 9038 3003


028 9038 3033


028 9038 3103

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.