Revamped museum enjoys visitor boom
The Ulster Museum has welcomed more than half a million people through its doors in the year since its multimillion-pound renovation.
The attraction has won a string of awards since it reopened in October last year after a £17 million remodelling of the building.
Officials have now revealed that it has been visited by around 625,000 people in the last 12 months, representing a 200% increase in the figures recorded before its dramatic facelift.
Director of National Museums Northern Ireland Tim Cooke said the public reaction to the Ulster Museum had far exceeded expectations.
"We anticipated higher visitor numbers as a result of the rejuvenation but had not predicted a response of this level," he said.
"The refurbishment has allowed us to reach wider and more diverse local, national and international audiences. What has been most encouraging is that many of our visitors are new to museum life, representing all social groups and ages."
The Ulster Museum has won seven major awards including the Museum and Heritage Award for Best Permanent Exhibition and the UK Art Fund Prize, which has been billed as one of the world's most prestigious museum awards.
Mr Cooke added: "Winning major UK awards and partaking in prominent loan programmes such as the recent Downing Street exhibition has all helped raise the museum's profile in an international context."
"It sends out a message that Northern Ireland's cultural assets and our approach to visitor engagement are world class. We have exciting plans for the future to build on our successes and continue to draw visitors to the Ulster Museum."