Museums celebrate 100 years since women won the vote

Dr Margaret Ward,  visiting fellow at QUB and Laura McCorry, director of public engagement at National Museums NI
Dr Margaret Ward, visiting fellow at QUB and Laura McCorry, director of public engagement at National Museums NI

National Museums NI is launching a year-long programme of events to coincide with the centenary of women being granted the right to vote under the Representation of the People Act.

The Hear Her Voice programme will feature a series of exhibitions and events across the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and Ulster American Folk Park.

A full schedule of talks and film screenings will take place at the Ulster Museum. The programme begins this Sunday, February 11, with a lecture on Winning the Vote: The Irish Suffrage Movement with Dr Margaret Ward, a visiting fellow in history at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Highlights include Headland, a major exhibition of new work by acclaimed Co Antrim artist Elizabeth Magill, in partnership with Limerick City Gallery of Art and RHA, Dublin and Wicked Wit: Darly’s Comic Prints – an exhibition from the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin with over 100 hand-coloured comic prints produced in London by Mary Darly and her husband Matthew.

A trail through the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum will explore the stories of women connected to the museum’s expansive folk life and transport collections.

In the summer the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh will open A Step in Time: The Story of Irish Dance, an exhibition which will showcase objects associated with Irish dance at home and abroad.

Laura McCorry, director of public engagement for National Museums NI, said: “We’ve been exploring the decade of centenaries through our collections over the past few years, a time between 1912 and 1921 when Ireland was transformed by war and revolution. As part of that period, the Representation of the People Act, 100 years ago, marked a significant moment when women became increasingly visible within public and political life.

“Hear Her Voice is an opportunity for National Museums NI to encourage discussion on what empowerment of women meant throughout history and what it continues to mean for women worldwide today. At National Museums NI we are looking deeper into the women in our collections and their stories so we can better represent their contributions to society.”

She added: “2018 gives us an exciting opportunity to highlight and celebrate the power and achievements of women. We hope this theme and the diverse range of exhibitions and events we will showcase will encourage all our visitors to engage with and enjoy the collections and celebrate women with us.”

Tickets for Dr Margaret Ward’s talk Winning the Vote: The Irish Suffrage Movement at the Ulster Museum on Sunday February 11 at 3pm can be booked online. For further details on this and the Hear Her Voice programme visit www.nmni.com/HearHerVoice.