Former museum building: Launch of the Return to Life public consultation
The project focuses on the future regeneration and options for the reuse of the old museum building, 7 College Square North, Belfast as an attractive and vibrant place to promote the built heritage and history of Northern Ireland to a wider audience f
The old museum building is a listed category A building which appears on the register of heritage in danger.
Although in use for almost 200 years and partly occupied, the old museum building needs a full program of regeneration work and sustainable future use to ensure its survival.
It is proposed to restore and regenerate the old museum building, the former ‘Belfast Museum’, bringing it back to life as a hotbed of built heritage and history through a partnership between Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and Ulster Architectural Heritage.
The current outline of the building includes the provision of a full time center for built heritage and history used by Ulster Architectural Heritage, flexible spaces of around 40 and 80 seats for events / exhibitions / rentals ad hoc and long term rental for others, preferably a like-minded environmental / heritage partner organization or, instead, for commercial purposes.
Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and Ulster Architectural Heritage were kindly supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Northern Ireland to develop the first phase which was to outline plans for the building’s future in 2019.
And now, public commentary is sought on the history of the building and overall plans examining how the premises will develop into the future and, hopefully, survive for over 200 years.
The consultation takes the form of two surveys, one titled ‘Sharing Stories’, focusing on the history of the old museum building and looking for local memories and photos.
A second survey called “The Way Ahead” focuses on the future of the old museum building as a center of built heritage and history.
Visitors are invited to participate in one or both to help Ulster Architectural Heritage and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society shape the future of this important building for the enjoyment of future generations. The consultation ends on August 20 at midnight.
Alun Evans, President of BNHPS, explained how the company has shaped museums today and needs to involve as many people as possible in the conversation about the future of this important listed Class A building.
He continued: “The Belfast Society of Natural History and Philosophy was ‘… not formed on a narrow and merely utilitarian basis’.
“He played a central role in the intellectual and scientific development of Victorian Belfast and beyond.
“He created Ireland’s first publicly funded museum, the Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Journal of Archeology, and has contributed to our museums today.
“It continues these traditions through its conference programs, but its role is ripe for diversification. “
Emphasizing the importance of consultation and the need for community input, David Johnston, UAH President, explained: “Ulster Architectural Heritage has been based for almost five years in the old museum building, working in partnership with the BNHPS to plan the future of the building. 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 account the views of the general public, to help shape the plans of the Old Museum as a center of built heritage and history.
Survey 1: SHARE STORIES: https://www.ulsterarchitecturalheritage.org.uk/old-museum-building-sharing-stories/
Survey 2: THE WAY FORWARD: https://www.ulsterarchitecturalheritage.org.uk/old-museum-building-the-way-ahead/
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