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Living History for Schools at the Museum


The Museum is currently developing ‘Living History’ workshops for schools so that pupils can learn more about the past in an interactive and enjoyable way.

Three Living History workshops have been devised so pupils can learn more about the past in an interactive and enjoyable way. Two workshops are based on life in Victorian times and one looks at World War Two. They cost £1 per head each.

The 19th century workshops transport students to the dark days of the Irish Potato Famine to see what life was like in the Newry Union Workhouse of 1847. They can also enter a Victorian school room where they will be met with strict discipline and the threat of the cane!

Pupils can help keep Newry and Mourne safe during World War 2, as they are learn how to be Fire Guard Messengers. They will be instructed on Blackouts, Gas Masks, and what to do during air raid. They will also help with evacuees new to the area and learn about the importance of rationing.

Some of the feedback received from teachers and pupils was positive as one student said "I really believed we were talking to these people from long ago. The Workhouse Matron was quite scary". A teacher commented that "The whole experience was excellent.

Contact Details

Please telephone 028 3031 3178 for more information

Workshouse Inmate

Free Tour of Newry and Mourne Museum every Sunday at 3pm


The free tour of Newry and Mourne Museum will now commence at 3pm every Sunday.

If haven’t visited the Museum before or you would like to hear more about the history of the area this is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The exhibitions provide an overview of the history and the diverse range of objects relating to the development of the region from 9,000 years ago to the present day.

Architectural features from the history of Bagenal’s Castle and the adjoining 19th-century warehouse have also been integrated into the Museum exhibition layout.

There are also two temporary exhibitions on display which deal with various aspects of Newry and Mourne's history.

Group numbers are limited to twelve.

Contact Details

If you like more information or you would like to book please telephone 028 3031 3178.

Visitors at the Museum

New Reminiscence Box unveiled at Newry and Mourne Museum


Today 14th November 2014, the Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council, Councillor Daire Hughes launched a new 1970s and 1980s themed reminiscence box.

The box was developed in response to demand, particularly from groups with younger clients. Speaking about this, Noreen Cunningham, Museum Curator, said; ‘Our Reminiscence loan box service is extremely popular throughout the district, and further afield. Museum Assistants, Joanne Cummins and Dympna Tumilty, have designed the new box to help people recall memories and promote discussion amongst those who use the box.’

Packed full of objects from the 1970s and 1980s, including a Rubik’s Cube and Soda Stream, the box is available for use by local care homes, healthcare professionals, community groups and individuals, and can be used to get people talking about their memories.
Many of us who lived through these decades, sported a ‘mullet’ haircut or Farrah Fawcett ‘flicks’, wore power suits or shell suits and wondered who shot J.R., and this box will help stimulate those memories.

Other reminiscence boxes available from the Museum include; Household, School Life, Grooming and Fashion, Earning a Crust, Rural Life, 1940’s and 50’s and Christmas.

The boxes are accompanied with a resource file with useful suggestions, poems, stories and reading lists. Each box of 'memories' contains everyday objects that can be used as memory triggers for different types of reminiscence activities.

Museum staff are trained in reminiscence techniques and can advise on how to use the box and its contents.

Contact Details

If you are interested in borrowing a reminiscence box, contact Declan Carroll on 028 3031 3178, or email declan.carroll@newryandmourne.gov.uk.

Loan Box Launch

All Politics is Local Exhibition


Today Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council, Cllr. Daire Hughes opened a new temporary exhibition ‘All Politics is Local’ at Newry and Mourne Museum, which explores the development of local government in the area over the last two hundred years.

The exhibition commences with the establishment of the Newry Police Commissioners in 1828, the Town Commissioners in 1865, the introduction of Urban and Rural District Councils in the 1890s, the setting up of Newry and Mourne District Council in 1973 to the re-organisation of local government in 2015.

The panels and the accompanying booklet cover a wide range of issues, from national events affecting local government in Newry and Mourne through to the individuals that have had a lasting impact on the development of this district.

Also on display are documents and artefacts highlighting the important role the various council’s played in everyday life, from responsibility for the provision of electricity to the allocation of housing.

“With the establishment of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, it is timely to look back at local government in the area formerly administered by Newry and Mourne District Council” says Noreen Cunningham, Museum Curator at Newry and Mourne Museum. “One of my favourite items on display is the c. 1950s ballot box that was used for elections in St. John Bosco Hall on Kilmorey Street, but there are many other items which will spark memories for those who visit the exhibition.”

The exhibition, which runs until 28th February 2016.

Contact Details

The exhibition is open free of charge. For further details, contact the Museum Curator on 028 30313182 or Assistant Curator on 028 30313177.

All Politics is Local

World War One Stands


Newry and Mourne Museum has developed a travelling exhibition on "Newry and Mourne in the Great War".

It consists of five pop-up stands and covers
(1) Recruitment & Service
(2) The Home Front
(3) Women & Children
(4) Political Developments
(5) Peace and Remembrance.

It tells the local story of the impact of the First World War, with references to Bessbrook, Jerretspass, Kilkeel, Newry, Newtownhamilton, Rostrevor. and Warrenpoint, etc.

Contact Details

The exhibition can be hired by calling 028 3031 3182/3178 or emailing museum@newryandmourne.gov.uk.

Changes to Main Exhibitions at Newry and Mourne Museum


On 25th February 2015, the Acting Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr. Michael Ruane, launched changes to the main exhibitions at Newry and Mourne Museum which has been funded by the Northern Ireland Museums Council as part of its Museums Engagement Initiative.

To maintain and increase its high visitor figures, the Museum follows a strategy of making periodic changes to the content of the main exhibitions. This makes more of the Museum Collection accessible to the public by enabling the Museum to put new donations on display.

Amongst the wide range of new artefacts added to the main exhibitions on this occasion are an expanded display of early 19th century glassware made in Newry, maps, drawings and documents reflecting the architectural, commercial and political history of the Newry and Mourne area and receipts signed by John Martin, a local Irish Patriot. Artefacts relating to the 20th century include the title page from Newry’s Roll of Honour, a certificate given to the family of Thomas Lundy from Newry who fought in the First World War, a calendar and tourist guide for south Down from 1912, a Drama Feis poster from 1935 and photomontages by the Newry-born artist Sean Hillen created in the 1980s and 1990s which were his personal response to The Troubles in Newry. A number of new artefacts relating to McCann’s Bakery are also on display.

The presentation of Bagenal’s Castle has also been improved with a series of new lecterns explaining architectural features of the building and how the various rooms may have been used in the 16th century and a new panel in Gallery 1 looks at the history of the Cistercian abbey.

Speaking at the launch, the Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr. Michael Ruane said that “Newry and Mourne Museum is very fortunate in having great support from the community manifested in the high number of quality artefacts donated to the Museum over the years. I would like to thank all who have donated material. We are indebted to them for their generosity and their desire to see local heritage preserved for future generations”.

Chris Bailey, Director of the Northern Ireland Museums Council, said, “These changes to the main exhibitions not only reveal further fascinating aspects of the history of Newry and the surrounding area, but it is done in an engaging, entertaining and fascinating manner, with true curatorial flair. I would encourage everyone with an interest in their local history to visit Newry and Mourne Museum. NIMC is pleased to be able to support the museum for this project.”

Contact Details

028 3031 3177

Revamp 2016

Newry and Mourne Museum celebrates thirty years of service to the local community


This year marks thirty years of service for Newry and Mourne Museum. Originally housed in the then Newry Arts Centre, the Museum was officially opened by the Chairman of Newry and Mourne District Council, Councillor Pat Toner, along with Major Gerald Reside, a founder member of the Old Newry Society, on 30th May 1986.

Tony Canavan was the first Museum Officer and those early days were focused on building up the Museum Collection. This meant encouraging members of the public and local historians to donate valuable, sometimes personal items, to the new service, which would tell the rich history of the Newry and Mourne area. Many of these initial donations are on display in the new Museum at Bagenal’s Castle, including a spinning wheel, the Gelston clock, the Order of St. Patrick Robes and the John Mitchel chairs.

Even though the original Museum was located in a small area of the Arts Centre, its diverse exhibitions encouraged many visits from the members of the public and local schools. One of the most popular artefacts was a Georgian panelled room, originally from a house in North Street in Newry. This was on loan from the Department of the Environment.

Up until 1999 there was only one member of staff but with the help of external funding, staff began to grow. A number of volunteers also made a significant contribution to the work of the Museum. Additional staff increased the capacity for more temporary exhibitions and education work with schools became of core area of the Museum’s role in the district. Much of the work of the Museum at this time was central to many major local achievements such as Newry becoming a City in 2002.

Perhaps the most significant change the Museum has seen was its move to Bagenal’s Castle in 2007, the former home of McCann’s Bakery. The larger building increased exhibition space for permanent and temporary exhibitions and provided enhanced storage facilities. A major element in the new building is the Reading Room used by the public to consult the Museum’s local history archive.

Since re-opening in March 2007 the Museum has welcomed visitors from all over the world. Visitors see three main exhibition galleries featuring pre-historic artefacts, medieval carvings from Newry Cistercian abbey, 18th, 19th and 20th century objects, as well as artefacts relating to McCann’s Bakery.

Two temporary exhibitions are held each year that further highlight the rich heritage and culture of the region. Since 2007 there have been over thirty temporary exhibitions based on the Museum Collection supplemented with loans from the public. These temporary exhibitions inform the Museum’s dynamic education and events programme and help sustain Newry and Mourne Museum’s high visitor figures which, at an average of 36,000 per year, are among the highest for local museums in Northern Ireland.

Opening of Newry and Mourne Museum Tony Canavan Major Reside Pat Toner

Hallowe'en 2016


On Saturday 22nd October, your kids can visit the Museum to unleash their wild and wicked imaginations to create ghostly arts and crafts in celebration of the scariest time of the year.

There are two sessions, 10.30am - 12.00pm and again from 1.30pm - 3.00pm. Cost per child is £1.50. This activity is appropriate for children aged 4 -11 years. Numbers for these workshops are limited to 20 children so pre booking of places is advisable.

On Saturday 29th Lindy McMahon returns to the Museum for Children's Spooky Cup Cake Decorating. This will be for children aged from 6 to 16. Sessions are as follows: 10am -11am, 11.15am - 12.15pm, 1.30pm - 2.30pm and 2.45pm - 3.45pm. Numbers are strictly limited so pre booking of places is advisable. Cost per child is £1.50

On Hallowe’en itself, October 31st, join renowned storyteller Eamonn Keenan as he weaves tales of strange goings on, witches, ghosts, and all sorts of fairy folk, there may even be a few songs and surprises. This will be from 3pm – 4.30pm, so please drop in.

Cost per child is £1.50 and is appropriate for children aged 4 -11 years.

For all these events children must be accompanied by an adult.

Contact Details

If you wish to book or you require more information please telephone 028 3031 3178.

Connemara and Retriever Disaster: Wrong Time, Wrong Place


Maritime historian, Sean Patterson, will visit the Museum on Thursday 3rd November at 7.30pm to give his talk 'Connemara and Retriever Disaster: Wrong Time, Wrong Place'.

During a heavy gale, while passing the ‘cut’ into Carlingford Lough, the Retriever, a Newry collier, struck the passenger ship, the Connemara, which was bound for Holyhead from Greenore.

Both ships sank in a matter of moments. Ninety-four people were killed, and only one person survived.

Sean will speak about one of the most tragic local maritime disasters that occurred one hundred years ago on the night of the 3rd November 1916.

This event is free of charge but pre-booking is advisable.

Contact Details

If you wish to book a seat please call 028 3031 3178.

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