NI innovators to be celebrated at Ulster Transport Museum

  • Photo: Clare Ablett, Curator of History at National Museums NI

    A new exhibition at the Ulster Transport Museum in Cultra is opening on 10 July and will showcase objects that celebrate local pioneers who have pushed the boundaries of engineering and invention.

    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.

    “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," said William Blair, Director of Collections at National Museums NI.

    “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.”

    The DeLorean ‘Endurance’ DMC-12 on display at the Museum of Innovation Exhibition

    All the objects on display and their inventors have contributed in some way to Northern Ireland’s legacy of innovation.

    Some 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 21st century treatment in the Museum of Innovation.

    Also included is 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.

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    Harry Ferguson from Dromore in Co Down is highlighted too. In 1926, he patented the three-point linkage for tractors that revolutionised farming globally. Exhibited and on display for the first time is a restored 1960s Massey Ferguson tractor.

    The inventions of John Boyd Dunlop are additionally celebrated. Dunlop, who was living in Belfast at the time, created his pneumatic tyre which went into mass production from the 1890s 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, will be on display in the museum.

    One of the most inspiring innovators to be exhibited 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.

    Clare Ablett, Curator of History at National Museums NI with a display showcasing Harry Ferguson, inventor of the revolutionary Massey Ferguson

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    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

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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