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Video: Sneak glimpse inside the refurbished Ulster Museum

By Victoria O'Hara

The Ulster Museum has been transformed into a world-class building to house of treasures of past and present.



Walking through the doors after the massive £17 million facelift it was evident that new life had been breathed into the old Ulster Museum.

The clutter and darkness of the former premises, which fused 1920s and 1970s architecture, is gone and has been replaced with natural light and space.

Many of the famous exhibitions remain, but have now been given a 21st century platform.

The atrium, once filled with fossils with the floor stamped with dinosaur feet for children to follow, has disappeared.

In its place is an ultra white ‘Welcome’ area, with wonderfully high ceilings allowing natural light to burst in and illuminate the building. Polished steel and glass interconnecting walkways have transformed the museum. A beautiful stained glass window, previously camouflaged by dull, grey walls now injects colourful beauty onto the white landscape.

The clever redesign allows the public from each level to catch a glimpse of what other floors have in store. One of the difficulties with the old building was navigating it. Now, it has visually and physically opened up.

In Video: Gary Grattan reports as the last exhibit returns to the Ulster

In Video: Gary Grattan visits the Egyptian mummy Takabuti

The impressive collection of artefacts is now divided into four levels and three zones — history, art and nature.

Among the gems for people to view is the Armada exhibition on the first floor, which is glistening with golden artefacts.

Thousands of people must have walked past the exhibition in the old building.

Now the new design of the room allows each individual piece, including necklaces, a gold salamander, crucifixes and chains to be shown off in their finest glory.

The museum's oldest resident, Takabuti — the mummy — is now the centrepiece of a new gallery exploring life and death in ancient Egypt.

But along with the old the redesign has integrated the new.

Impressive audio visual shows are projected onto the walls surrounding the tower which are aimed at encouraging visitors to find out more about special exhibits.

So as the doors officially open tomorrow, Northern Ireland now has a museum and art gallery to rival any in the world.

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