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A bicentenary worth celebrating!

Two hundred years of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society

The Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society was founded on 5 June 1821 by Dr James Lawson Drummond, along with seven young men. Their aim was to promote knowledge in the sciences and arts. Our building, one of the most outstanding Greek Revival structures in Belfast, was opened on College Square North in 1831. It was the first museum in Ireland erected by public subscription and was intended to be both a meeting place for the society and a home for the members’ varied collections from across the world. Following the removal of collections, after they were gifted to the Belfast Corporation in 1910, the Old Museum Building remained in the ownership of the Society, which continues to use it for meetings and lectures today.

With the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland, the Belfast Society is working in partnership with Ulster Architectural Heritage (UAH) on a project to consider options for the re-use of the Old Museum as an engaging and dynamic place to promote Northern Ireland’s unique heritage, history and culture to wider audiences and to preserve them for future generations.

The Society is celebrating its bicentenary in 2021 and a series of events and publications are planned for this year. Of special note is a keynote lecture which will be given by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell on 8 September.

We are also planning to publish a short history of the Society over the last two centuries. This will tell the story of the founding of the Society in 1821; the life and career of the first President, Dr James Lawson Drummond, and other notable figures in the Society’s history; the construction of the Old Museum Building; the Society’s collections; and activities over the last 200 years, including the excavations at Nendrum in the 1920s and its publications’ programme of the early 2000s.



TITLE: The Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society 1821-2021: a Celebration of Two Hundred Years

FORMAT: Full colour production throughout

ISBN: 9781913993122



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