The Museum’s collections comprise the following:
Artefacts relating to Irish linen.
The origins and development of the Irish linen industry in the Lagan Valleyarea since the 17th century, and its importance both to the region and to the industry in general in the whole of Ireland, form the Museum’s specialist subject areas and are at the core of its unique identity as the Irish Linen Centre.The collections relating to the Irish linen industry are:
Major Irish linen damask collection, needle-worked textiles and linen costume.
General artefacts of linen production, illustrating the how, what, who and where of the industry in the domestic and mechanised stages of manufacture. These include working damask and cambric hand looms, a collection related to thread manufacture, advertising materials, prints, drawings, portraits and photographs.
Particular emphasis within the collections is given to linen manufacturing firms and families who were associated with the Lisburn and Lagan Valley area. These include Barbour (thread manufacture), Richardson (linen manufacture and bleaching), Coulson (damask linen production).
Artefacts relating to Lisburn and the Lagan Valley
The Museum collection includes prints, drawings, watercolours and oils of local topographical views, portraits and general works by local artists. There is a particularly fine collection of paintings by Lisburn-born artist, Samuel McCloy (1831-1904). The Museum is developing a notable collection of paintings relating to the River Lagan as well as those by local artists in general, particularly where these have an association with the linen industry. On permanent display is a painting by John Luke (1906-1975), The Locks at Edenderry, which was acquired in 1996 with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Local and Social History of the Lagan Valley
Artefacts relating to local crafts, trades, domestic life, civic life, costume, transport, sport and military service are collected, covering a period from the mid 17th century to the present day. In 2000, the collections of Lisburn Historical Society were incorporated into the Museum collections.
Archaeological and Natural Science Collections
Local prehistory, natural history and geological objects have been collected for display purposes.
The Museum’s collection of photographs covers all aspects of linen production, since the 1880s, particularly in relation to the businesses which were located in the Lisburn area, and also a number of local topographical views from the wider Lagan Valley Region.
LISBURN – the town and its people (1873 – 1973) (Belfast, 2000) by Brian Mackey contains a selection of historical photographs of local interest. Now out of print.
The Museum continues to collect relevant objects through donation and purchase.
If you have an object or photograph which you think may be of interest to the Museum, please contact us through a visit, telephone call, or email.