Making History is the Mid-Antrim Museums Service's Community History Programme. For each of the groups involved, it offers a programme of workshops, exhibitions, events and field trips aimed at exploring history in new and interesting ways. Funded by the EU special fund for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace II), each project was tailored to suit the individual interests of the participant groups. The programme highlighted both diversity and shared aspects of local history and identity.
Linen: A Shared History: Cullybackey Environmental Improvement Agency, Glenravel Environmental Improvement Agency and Harryville Partnership
Three Ballymena groups participated in a programme which focused on locally produced linen. Each area had a particular relationship to the local linen industry, from its origins as a cottage industry, through factory production, and its ultimate decline in recent years. The participants worked together and in tandem to produce a lively and interesting documentary recording the memories of flax-growers, farmers and mill-workers. Despite the dereliction or demolition of local linen mills and factories, the efforts of these groups to preserve memories of these local landmarks and their past importance in local daily life will forever enrich the historical record. Through workshops, field trips adn reconstructions these groups learned about the different roles and jobs associated with linen manufacturing and rounded-off their personal knowledge with help from one another and from the museum.
Journeys From Near and Far: Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum
The Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum participated in a programme that focused on the diversity of the local community. Participants came from more than a dozen nationalities and faith groups, including China, India, Jamaica, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sudan and the United States of America. Inspired by the recent Northern Ireland Museum Council exhibition, Our People, Our Times, the Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum and the Mid-Antrim Museums Service documented the myriad stories and experiences of migration which have all ended in Ballymena over more than half a century. Through filmed interveiws, they documented important objects and memories which, in turn, have made a contribution to and refreshed our understanding of local history.
A Passage through Time: Dunclug Senior Citizens' Association
In Dunclug, the Residents' Association was interested in exploring both the area's ancient and more recent history. Along with the help of local expert guides, they visited some of the most interesting and historic locations around Ballymena and beyond, including Ossian's Grave, Bonamargy Friary and Torr Head. Through object handling sessions and museum visits, they learned about the medieval foundations of their local area and its connection to other parts of Ireland. The final session explored recent history, through the Mid-Antrim exhibition, The 1970s: A retrospective look at a turbulent decade. This enabled participants to record and integrate their own memories in local history.
'70s Memories in Ballykeel: Ballykeel Senior Citizens' Group
In 2001, the Mid-Antrim Museums Service debuted an innovative and engaging travelling exhibition about the 1970s. Recently, the Ballykeel Senior Citizens' Group had the opportunity to host the exhibition and participate in handling sessions with the objects from the Museum's '70s Loan Box as well as workshops inspired by the exhibition, The 1970s: A retrospective look at a turbulent decade. Images from the Flamingo Ballroom brought back fond memories. 1970s relics from the Loan Box like the matchbox replica of the red and white Ford Torino made famous in the Starsky & Hutch television series were espeically enjoyed. Teh exhibition also reflected environmental and technological changes, as well as they turbulent politics of the time.
Ballymena Community History Partnership
This group held its first meeting in the Museum's Learning Zone in May. The partnership aims to bring together a range of local groups to advise Council on the use of the newly established Community History Fund. It also seeks to encourage collaboration, networking and sharing knowledge and information.
Current membership includes: Harryville Partnership, Dunclug and District Residents Association, Gracehill Old School Trust, Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum, Ballee Community Association, the Local Studies Section of NEELB, the North of Ireland Family History Society (Ballymena), Cullybackey Improvement Association, Ballykeel 1 Community Association (plus nominated elected members).
For more information about the Ballymena Community History Partnership click here (coming soon)