Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club’s (BNFC) exhibition opens on Friday 8 March and is entitled Citizen Science. The exhibition explores the Club’s origins and achievements, and features some of its prominent members.
The BNFC was established in 1863 to promote the study of the natural history and archaeology of Belfast and its surrounding districts. Over the years, the Club flourished and made a major contribution to the cultural life of Belfast. In the 1920s, it became the largest organisation of its type in the world, attracting members of all ages and from all walks of life. The organisation allows experts to work and beginners to learn, often bringing both together on field excursions, lectures and social events.
Citizen Science explores the history of the Club by focussing on the work done by such talented individuals as founding member Ralph Tate, linen-manufacturer and geologist William Swanston, and the artist and botanist Raymond Piper. The exhibition features images captured on many field trips including one from 1868, taken during a BNFC excursion to The Giant’s Causeway, by photographic artist Mr Mack from Coleraine.
The exhibition was curated for the BNFC by Honorary Archivist Dr Peter Crowther who commented “Citizen Science is a fascinating look back at the impressive contribution made by the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club to our understanding of the natural history and archaeology of Belfast and its region over the past 150 years.”
The exhibition was curated for National Museum’s Northern Ireland by Curator of Geology, Ken James, while Dr Diarmid Finnegal and Dr Jonathan Wright of Queen’s University Belfast acted as historical consultants.
Dr Liam McCaughey, Honorary Secretary of the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club also commented: “We are delighted that the Ulster Museum is marking our 150th anniversary with this exhibition. The fact that the Club still remains relevant today is a tribute to the people who founded it all those years ago.”
Visitors can also learn more about the exhibition and BNFC from an accompanying booklet, which helps to put the Club’s history in a broader context by highlighting its involvement with some contemporary scientific and cultural debates.
The exhibition will be formally opened by former UTV broadcaster, Brian Black on Thursday 7 March; then is open to the public from Friday 8 March until Sunday 2 June 2013, located in the Belfast Room at the Ulster Museum.
The exhibition is free. For further information and museum opening times please visit www.nmni.com/um