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Museum opening marks 'new dawn for Orangeism'
22 June 2015

An exciting new chapter in the history of the Orange Institution begins today as a major interpretative centre opens its doors in east Belfast.

Marking the commencement of an unprecedented outreach project for the Loyal Order, the Museum of Orange Heritage will welcome its first visitors from this morning (MON).

Extensive redevelopment work has been ongoing at the Institution’s Cregagh Road headquarters since early last year and its completion represents the largest and most ambitious venture ever undertaken by the Order.

The impressive Belfast facility aims to promote shared space and greater levels of reconciliation through education, and is a joint project with the refurbished Sloan’s House in Loughgall, Co Armagh, which opens separately next week.

Both facilities are part of the REACH Project (Reaching out through Education and Cultural Heritage) which received £3.6 million from the EU’s PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Visitors to the state-of-the-art building will be able to view a wealth of items and artefacts in the possession of the Institution, and avail of superb interactive and audio visual technologies to learn more about the history of Orangeism, and its worldwide appeal, from the Glorious Revolution to the present day.

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said the new interpretative centre at Schomberg House symbolised an “exciting new dawn for Orangeism”.

He said: “Today is a truly iconic, historic and landmark moment for the Orange Institution, representing a shift change in our outreach to the wider community.

“The Orange tradition has a story to tell and it is fantastic to be able to share and showcase our heritage to a large audience, through the means of a modern interpretative centre. Such a facility has never before been available anywhere in the British Isles, and we are immensely proud of our product.

“We believe our museum will be a truly outstanding educational and historical resource, and look forward to welcoming visitors from all walks of life and from across the world, such has been the sense of anticipation ahead of the completion of this project.”

The Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast will be open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm (normally closed on Mondays). The centre will also open late on Thursdays, til 8pm. Admission for adults will be £4.50, children £2, and those under 10 can avail of free access. Special group rates will also be available. The official opening of the new museum is due to take place on Wednesday 24 June.

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