Dealing with contested history 11/5/2018

Ulster Museum has marked the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement with a new permanent exhibition, ‘The Troubles and Beyond’. It explores the politics of the conflict and the impact on everyday life. Unlike a previous, more ‘tentative’ display it centres around the power of objects - including a pipe bomb, an LP of UVF songs and a Spitting Image puppet of Peter Mandelson. It also looks at post-conflict Northern Ireland, covering issues from flag protests to equal marriage and Brexit. National Museums Northern Ireland's Director of Collections William Blair said “for some years now, the Ulster Museum has been working with other museums internationally, from Sarajevo to Beirut, exploring approaches to dealing with contested history and the legacy of difficult pasts. Our aim has been to create a gallery that provides a new platform for discussion – one that offers opportunities for people to respond and contribute their own stories.” Stella Byrne from HLF, which funded the project through its Collecting Cultures programme, acknowledged that much of the history the exhibition describes remains raw. She said “I hope [the public] come recognising that this is a national institution trying to take a lead… There's nobody here trying to put one particular political viewpoint across. It's trying to look at things from a very rounded perspective."  NMNI, BBC, Belfast Telegraph, The Irish News