News

May Day closure

We are closed for the May Day Bank Holiday and will re-open on Tuesday 02 May. View our events diary to see what events are upcoming in May.

We are closed for the May Day Bank Holiday

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St Patrick’s Day closure

The museum will be closed on Friday 17th March for St Patrick’s Day but to mark to the occasion here is a little shamrock from our archives…

This is a birthday card given to Corporal Grace Atkinson, Auxiliary Territorial Service, as she celebrated her 21st birthday while stationed in Europe during the Second World War.

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Coming Up, February 2017…

  • Northern Ireland Museum Council and Playful Museums Launch the exciting programme for under 5s on Friday the 3rd of February.
  • Playful Museums is coming to NIWM with ‘Hey Little Hen, Music and Storytelling’ in the gallery. Four sessions will run across two days on Monday the 6th and Friday the 10th of February. Pre-booking is essential.
  • Museum Manager, Jenny Haslett talks to British Forces Broadcasting Services Radio about the museum’s craft programme. Tune in live on Monday 6th February to hear the full interview.
  • The museum will hold its next craft day with a valentines theme, ‘Cross My Heart Crochet’, on Saturday the 11th of February.

Hey little hen poster Squiggles & Giggles Cross My Heart Crochet

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US 75

This month marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland. To celebrate the anniversary and remember the importance of the event for Northern Ireland and the war effort, the museum held a private reception at Belfast Harbour Office on Thursday 26th January. The event was attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of the Borough of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay O’Boyle, Belfast’s Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, Acting U.S. Consul General Bernadette Roberts and invited guests. Music provided by Ulster Brass was woven into a programme of speakers who relayed the history of the American presence in Northern Ireland and the collection of items held by the museum that tell the story of their time here.

On Saturday the 28th the 75th anniversary was further marked with an upbeat family day at the museum which was enjoyed by 250 visitors. Live dancing was performed throughout the afternoon by the Ballroom Blitz Formation dance group, U.S. kit and collections were displayed by wartime living history experts and children were presented with their weekly ration of American candy and Coca-Cola.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day was marked this year in the museum with a display of paintings by local artist Leslie Nicholl. A small selection of these paintings were chosen from a larger collection and relate specifically to the Holocaust. They will be on display in the gallery for two weeks. The museum continues to commemorate the Holocaust this month by holding special activities for primary school children in the gallery and using tangible local links to the Holocaust by telling the story of the Millisle Farm in County Down and the Jewish refugees who stayed there

Activities at the museum to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 were featured on a news broadcast by NVTV – view the news coverage.

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January Craft Day

Craft-enthusiasts along with a youth group from the charity Brain Injury Matters, were fashioning pom-pom accessories in the museum. Wartime black-out restrictions led to the government actively encouraging the use of colourful accessories to be used on clothes to help people be seen in the dark and of course these were quite often hand crafted pieces from reused and recycled materials.

January Craft Day January Craft Day

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Launch of The Hartle Trail

On Wednesday the 25th of January The GI Trail Northern Ireland launched its second heritage trail, retracing the steps of American troops in Antrim and Londonderry. Mid and East Antrim BC hosted the launch of the latest map in the US Rangers Museum, Carrickfergus, 75 years after the first GIs arrived in Northern Ireland.

NIWM features as one of the top five locations to visit on The Hartle Trail. You can pick up your copy free from the NIWM gallery.

Launch of Hartle Trail They came from the US

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Holocaust Memorial Day

We are marking Holocaust Memorial Day with a display of Holocaust inspired paintings by local artist Leslie Nicholl. Earlier this week, Mr Nicholl spoke to NVTV in our gallery about the small exhibition of his paintings which remember the lives that were lost in the Holocaust. These emotive paintings will remain on display for the next two weeks.

Commemorations will continue in the museum throughout the day. A class of primary school children are set to take part in a special remembrance activity based on the story of the Millisle farm. In the gallery the children will learn about the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day and will have the opportunity to each plant an individual bean sprout in memory of a child who found refuge on the farm during the Second World War.

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Museum closure Thursday 26 January

The museum will be closed until 12.15 pm today as we are hosting a reception at Belfast Harbour Office to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first U.S. troops in Europe. #US75

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75th anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Northern Ireland during the Second World War

Throughout 2017 the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

Historical Notes

US 75

On 26th January 1942, as part of Operation MAGNET, tenders from the convoy transports Strathaird and Chateau Thierry arrived in Pollock Dock and Dufferin Dock. American troops disembarked and were welcomed ashore to the strains of the Star Spangled Banner played by the band of the Royal Ulster Rifles.

 

Official greetings were made to Major General R P Hartle, acting Commander of the US Army NI Force. At Dufferin Dock Private Milburn Henke was the first to depart onto the dock, an event immortalised in the drawing by William Conor and photographed by the Belfast Telegraph. Henke became a household name and later donated items from his time here to the NIWM collection. The museum continues to be in contact with the Henke family in Minnesota.

In all, 300,000 US troops passed through Northern Ireland between 1942 and 1944 ahead of campaigns in North Africa and Europe. As a result of their presence in Northern Ireland, over 1,800 local women became GI brides.

1. Thursday 26th January 2017

When: 10.00 am – 11.00 am

Where: Belfast Harbour Office, Corporation Square, Belfast, BT1 3AL

WLHA

  • A private reception for a small gathering of invited guests.
  • A programme of speakers which will reflect on the significance of the arrival of US forces in Northern Ireland in 1942.
  • Dr Susan Kelly, who has been engaged by the NIWM to record local memories of the GI’s in Ulster 1942-44, will launch her oral history project.
  • The Ulster Orchestra Brass Quintet, Ulster Brass, will entertain guests and recreate the music that played 75 years ago as the troops disembarked at Dufferin Dock.
  • Refreshments will be served.
  • The event should last approximately one hour, finishing at 11.00 am. Ulster Brass will perform on the front steps of the Harbour Office as guests depart (weather permitting).

Principle guests:

  • Belfast Lord Mayor, Brian Kingston.
  • Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE
  • Acting US Consul General, Bernadette Roberts.
  • The Chairman of the Northern Ireland War Memorial, Mr Ian Wilson.
  • Trustees of the Northern Ireland War Memorial.

2. Saturday 28th January 2017 Family Event

When: 10.30 am – 4.00 pm

Where: Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast, BT1 2LD

What:

  • American themed family day at the Museum
  • Speak to living history specialists who will be dressed in US uniforms
  • Sample American candy and Coca Cola
  • View photographs and displays relating to the American presence
  • Listen to 1940s music and try craft activities for all ages
  • Booking is not required for this event and admission is free

Where: Belfast Harbour Office.  Corporation Square, Belfast, BT1 3AL

3. U.S. 75 Oral History Project 2017

When: Ongoing throughout 2017

What:  The NIWM is expanding its oral history collection. We use extracts from our oral history collection in publications, exhibitions, radio and television programmes and for our education programme. If you or someone you know would be happy to share their story with a history researcher and have it recorded for the museum’s collection please get in touch at outreach@niwarmemorial.org

Can you remember their arrival?
Did you live near a base or attend a dance at one of their clubs?
Did you know someone who became a GI bride?

4. Museum Exhibition 2017

US flag

When: Ongoing throughout 2017

What: NIWM will continue to remember the arrival of the American Troops and the lasting friendships that they made while here with temporary displays in the museum gallery.

Visitors to the museum will be able to view:

  • The GI Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland
  • American military insignia and uniform
  • Everyday kit used by the troops while stationed in NI

 

 

 

 

 

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