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Old Museum Building Back to Life. Public Consultation Launched

Share your stories, have your say on plans for the reuse and restoration of the Old Museum Building in a new 2-part consultation. **DEADLINE EXTENDED to midnight Friday 27th August**.

Posted on: 6th August 2021

Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society (BNHPS), and Ulster Architectural Heritage (UAH), are seeking your input to a new consultation on the Old Museum Building: Back to Life project. The project focuses on the future regeneration and options for the re-use the Old Museum Building, 7 College Square North, Belfast as an engaging, and dynamic place to promote Northern Ireland’s built heritage and history to a wider audience.

The Old Museum Building is a grade A listed building that is on the Heritage At Risk Register. Despite being in use for almost 200 years, and part occupied, the Old Museum Building needs a comprehensive programme of regeneration works and a sustainable future use to ensure its continued survival.

It is proposed to restore and regenerate the Old Museum Building, the former ‘Belfast Museum’, bringing it back to life as a home for built heritage and history through a partnership between BNHPS and UAH. The current outline proposals for the building include provision of a full-time centre for built heritage and history (UAH), flexible spaces of approximately 40 and 80 seating capacity for events/exhibitions/ad-hoc rental and long term let to others, preferably like-minded environment/heritage partner organisation or, instead. for commercial use.

Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and Ulster Architectural Heritage have been kindly supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Northern Ireland to develop phase one: outline plans for the building’s future 2019. Now public feedback is being sought on the building’s history and outline plans.

The consultation takes the form of two surveys, one entitled ‘Sharing Stories’, focused on the history of the Old Museum Building, seeking your memories and photos. A second survey entitled ‘The Way Ahead’ is focused on the Old Museum Building’s future as a centre for built heritage and history. You are invited to take part in either, or both, to help UAH and BNHPS shape the future of this important building for future generations to enjoy. The consulation will be open until the extended deadline of midnight on Friday 27th August 2021.

Survey 1: SHARING STORIES: https://ulsterarchitecturalheritage.org.uk/old-museum-building-sharing-stories/

Survey 2: THE WAY AHEAD: https://ulsterarchitecturalheritage.org.uk/old-museum-building-the-way-ahead/

Alun Evans, President of the BNHPS said: The Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society was “…not formed upon any narrow and merely utilitarian basis.” It played a central role in the intellectual and scientific development of Victorian Belfast, and beyond. It established Ireland’s first Museum, funded by public subscription, the Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, and contributed to our museums of today. It continues these traditions through its Lecture Programmes, but its role is ripe for diversification.”

David Johnston, Chairman of UAH said: ‘Ulster Architectural Heritage has for nearly 5 years been based at the Old Museum Building, working in partnership with BNHPS to plan the building’s future. We look forward to moving forward with restoration and reuse in the near future subject to funding. This new consultation is an important step in the project, taking into consideration the views of the general public, to help shape plans for the Old Museum as a centre for built heritage & history.’

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