The Museum of Innovation, a new exhibition at Ulster Transport Museum, Cultra, is gearing up to open to the public on July 10. The exhibition will showcase objects that celebrate local pioneers, male and female, who have pushed the boundaries of engineering and invention to create designs that have had a lasting impact across the world.
The Museum of Innovation forms part of National Museums NI’s longer term plan for Ulster Transport Museum which aims to embed the transport and industry collections as an engine of STEM learning and skills development.
William Blair, Director of Collections at National Museums NI commented: “Ulster Transport Museum is one of the UK and Ireland’s leading transport and industry museums and as such it’s important we continue to develop our collections and how they are shared with the public.
“The Museum of Innovation represents new thinking at Ulster Transport Museum. It focuses on telling the local stories behind some of our transport collections within a wider national and international context and the impact some of these inventions and feats of engineering had globally. Telling these stories adds a rich layer of voices, perspectives and personal connections. We hope this approach will allow people to understand Northern Ireland’s global contribution to design and innovation and help them connect with our collections in a way they may not have before.”
All the objects on display and their inventors have contributed in some way to Northern Ireland’s long and illustrious legacy of innovation. Some of the inspiring stories told in the exhibition include that of John DeLorean, whose iconic DeLorean sports car, built in a bespoke state-of-the-art Dunmurry factory, is given the twenty first century treatment in the new exhibition.
Clare Ablett, Curator of History at National Museums NI, who curated the exhibition, said: “We are really excited to welcome visitors to our newest offering, The Museum of Innovation in Ulster Transport Museum’s Land, Sea and Sky galleries. The exhibition showcases the inventions of some of Northern Ireland’s most extraordinary engineers, designers and innovators. From individuals tinkering in their garage to industry giants, all have had a role to play.
“The exhibition gives us a platform to showcase these fascinating and inspiring stories of ingenuity and we hope visitors will learn more about the huge impact local innovators have had globally. We’re especially looking forward to sharing these powerful stories with young people to perhaps inspire them to become the next generation of innovators and inventors of the future.”
Some of the innovators in focus in The Museum of Innovation include Hillsborough’s Professor Frank Pantridge, who transformed emergency medicine and paramedic services by creating the world’s first cardiac ambulance in 1966, which contained the prototype of the now ubiquitous defibrillator. Also highlighted is Harry Ferguson from Dromore in County Down, who, in 1926, patented the 3-point linkage for tractors that revolutionised farming globally. Exhibited and on display for the first time is a restored 1960’s Massey Ferguson tractor.
The inventions of John Boyd Dunlop are also celebrated. Dunlop, who was living in Belfast at the time, created his pneumatic tyre which went into mass production from the 1890’s onwards. One of the earliest bicycles fitted with pneumatic tyres ridden by Dunlop himself, along with an Eagle 360 Goodyear concept tyre, on loan from Goodyear, are also on display.
One of the most inspiring innovators highlighted is the pioneering aviator Lilian Bland. From her home in Carnmoney, Bland became the first woman in the world to design, build and fly an aeroplane in August 1910.
The Museum of Innovation has been developed in collaboration with a number of partners including the Harry Ferguson Society Northern Ireland, HeartSine Technologies Inc., Dunlop, Spirit AeroSystems, Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, historian Guy Warner, lilianbland.ie and David O’Neill.
Tickets for The Museum of Innovation at Ulster Transport Museum should be booked online in advance. For opening times, to book time slots and for further details visit www.nmni.com.
Notes to Editors
About the Innovators
John DeLorean – creator of the iconic DMC-12 that was built in a Dunmurry factory in 1981
Lilian Bland, from Carnmoney – the first women in the world to design, build, and fly an aircraft, the Bland Mayfly, in 1910
John Boyd Dunlop – was based in Belfast at the time he created his pneumatic tyre which was mass produced from 1890 onwards
Harry Ferguson from Dromore – In 1926, patented the 3-point linkage for tractors that revolutionised farming globally
James Martin, from Crossgar – designed the ejection seat in the 1940’s
Professor Pantridge, from Hillsborough, Co.Down – created the portable defibrillator in 1965 enabling him to develop the first ever cardiac ambulance
The Short Brothers – first aircraft manufacturers in the world and their company invented the SC1 VTOL aircraft in the 1950’s. They established their factory in Belfast in 1936.
About Ulster Transport Museum
Ulster Transport Museum allows visitors to journey through time and explore the evolution of transport and the impact it’s had on people and society from the start of the modern era. Visitors can discover the stories of the people and machines that embody Northern Ireland’s long tradition of innovation and engineering excellence. It is a well of inspiration for the designers, engineers and adventurers of the future.
About National Museums NI
National Museums NI is made up of four diverse museums and serves as a custodian of the 1.4 million objects within the National Collection. These exquisite objects span all time periods, referencing Northern Ireland and the wider world.
National Museums NI operates over five sites: Ulster Museum in Belfast, Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster Transport Museum, both located in Cultra, Holywood and Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, as well as our Collections Stores. More information can be found at www.nmni.com