100,000 topographical, portraiture and historical images, mostly black and white, in both print and negative formats. They date mainly from c. 1880 onwards and relate principally to the 6 counties of Northern Ireland reflecting the collecting interests of the Museum.
The Ulster Museum maintains and administers a wide range of photographic collections as part of its overall holdings. Together they comprise over 100,000 topographical, portraiture and historical images, mostly black and white, in both print and negative formats. They date mainly from c. 1880 onwards and relate principally to the 6 counties of Northern Ireland reflecting the collecting interests of the Museum. Significant collections include those of the renowned local photographers, R.J. Welch (1859-1938) and A.R. Hogg (1870-1939) which contain images of both a private and commercial nature reflecting the cumulative and extant output of each, c. 1866-1939; the personal collection of the antiquarian, F.J. Bigger (1863-1926), c. 1900-1920; and promotional and publicity photographs of the former Ulster Tourist Development Association (now known as the Northern Ireland Tourist Board), c. 1930-1960. Other collections of note include those of Cecil Newman, a Civil Engineer with the Planning and Development department of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, comprising over 5000 prints and negatives of local urban development, roads, towns etc during the 1960s and 70s; the Langham Collection of approx. 100 items relating to Tempo Manor and village in Co. Fermanagh, c. 1865-c. 1918, providing an interesting look at life in an Irish “big house” and associated tenants; the private, amateur collection of Bert Martin, a Belfast shipyard worker, comprising a range of material reflecting life in 1960s Belfast and including images of the shipyards and street life more generally, c. 1950-c. 1965; the H.W. Garland Collection of some 300 prints and negatives depicting the aftermath of the Belfast Blitz, April-May 1941; the Robert Martin Collection of approx. 500 glass plate negatives of Belfast taken for the Daily Express, c. 1930-1970, and including images of street shelters and the Belfast Blitz; G. Hackney’s collection of photographic albums charting the recruitment and training of the 36th Ulster Division and its part in the Battle of the Somme during World War One; the Browne Collection of local engineering activity, quarrying etc, post-1945; and the photographic album of James Glass relating to the Land War in Gweedore, Co. Donegal, c. 1880. The Ulster Museum also maintains a large collection of lantern slides depicting rural and social life in Ireland during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, copies of the Annesley and Young Collections held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and an extensive and growing collection of fieldwork material specially commissioned in-house by the Museum and charting the development of Belfast from 1975 onwards. These last are commissioned from local photographers and are acquired on a periodic basis.
The Photographic Collections at the Ulster Museum are an outstanding resource charting the development of photography in the north of Ireland from the late 19th century onwards. They provide an unrivalled visual commentary on the history, life and society of the area.
The collection contains approx. 100,000 glass plate negatives, glass lantern slides, 35mm slides, original prints, film negatives, copy archive and copy reference prints, stored in albums and boxes.
Details of the collection are recorded on to an automated database which is accessible at the Museum through curatorial members of staff. A selection of hard copy catalogues are also available for consultation for particular collections. Further details can be obtained from Museum staff.
The collection continues to be supplemented by purchase or gift.