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New Gallery for the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre

18 July 2018

Culture & Heritage Gallery Opening


A new culture & heritage gallery has opened in the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre. Through state of the art displays and artefacts, The Eric Montgomery Gallery tells the story of the Scotch-Irish who migrated from Ulster to America in the 18th & 19th centuries and how they shaped the United States, right up to the present day.

Ian Crozier, CEO of the Ulster-Scots Agency welcomed guests to the opening of the Gallery and spoke about the special relationship between the United States and the Ulster-Scots community. From the declaration of independence right up to modern times, the Scotch-Irish have provided leadership out of all proportion to their numbers whether as politicians, clergy, soldiers or business people. 20 Presidents of the United States could claim Scotch-Irish roots and large corporations today such as IBM and Procter Gamble have Scotch-Irish founding members. The contribution of the Scotch-Irish goes beyond famous deeds and famous people, it is their character and ideals especially their love of freedom, that has the greatest impact for that is what defines what is to be American.

Eric Montgomery, was an energetic pioneer of Scotch-Irish history, over 50 years ago he realized the importance of keeping this heritage alive for future generations and it is thanks to his unique vision the Ulster-American Folk Park opened its doors in 1976. Eric’s idea was to tell the wider story of the migration to America in the 18th & 19th centuries and the cornerstone of his plan was the restoration of the original Mellon homestead. So enthused by Eric’s idea the Mellon family provided funding for the restoration of the ancestral home and much of the construction of the Folk Park. Eric also set up the Transport Museum and was largely responsible for the establishment of the Ulster Historical Foundation. In recognition of this achievement his other endeavours he was awarded the OBE in 1991. It­ is in his memory the Gallery is named.

The Eric Montgomery Gallery was officially opened on 11 July 2018, by US Consul General, Dan Lawton, who said “It was an honor and privilege to be invited to help open the Eric Montgomery Gallery.  This new exhibition highlights the many significant contributions that Ulster-Scots made to the United States of America as well as the breadth and depth of our enduring and vital transatlantic ties.”

The Discover Ulster-Scots Centre is located in historic Corn Exchange building in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast, one of the most vibrant areas of the city. As well as permanent exhibitions, the Centre also hosts a range of events throughout the year.

Friendly and knowledgeable staff will answer any questions you have and will give you advice on other places to visit.

Discover Ulster-Scots Centre, The Corn Exchange, 1-9 Victoria Street, Belfast. BT1 3GA.

Open Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm.

For more information: Tel 02890 436710