The Loyal Orders have embarked on a joint enterprise to showcase their cultural heritage and history to a wider audience.
Visitors to the Museums of Orange Heritage in both Belfast and Loughgall, and the Siege Museum in Londonderry, can now avail of a special ticket allowing them to visit all three outreach facilities for a special discounted rate.
The combined initiative between the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Apprentice Boys will run until the end of September.
Curator of the Museum of Orange Heritage, Dr Jonathan Mattison, welcomed the closer cooperation between the respective museums.
He said: “This joint ticketing initiative is a reflection of the growing cultural history product in Northern Ireland. Visitors to the three sites can learn more about the Siege of Londonderry, the birth of the Orange Institution, and also the development of the Orange Order in the British Isles and across the world.
“Creating a greater understanding of the history and traditions of the Glorious Revolution and the Loyal Orders are central to this joint venture. The Museum of Orange Heritage is delighted to play its part in collaboration with our colleagues at the Siege Museum.”
William Moore, chairman of the Siege Museum management committee, said: “The Siege Museum is very pleased to establish this partnership with our colleagues in the Museum of Orange Heritage. It has been clearly demonstrated that there is a growing interest in the cultural heritage of the Loyal Orders. Our museum has welcomed thousands of people from across the world who are eager to learn more about the Siege of Londonderry and the Apprentice Boys and we always encourage them to visit the Museum of Orange Heritage too.
“The joint tickets are a perfect way to promote these links and provide a unique and memorable experience for our audience.”
The Museum of Orange Heritage at Schomberg House, Belfast, and at Sloan’s House, Co Armagh, both opened in June 2015.
The interpretative centre in east Belfast displays a wealth of items and artefacts relating to the history of Orangeism across the world, including King William’s original saddlecloth and the Paymaster General’s book of payments to the Williamite army.
The Loughgall facility focuses predominantly on the origins of the Institution, with the centrepiece being the original parlour where the first Orange warrants were signed over 200 years ago.
The Siege Museum, which opened in March last year, is dedicated to commemorating the history of the Siege of Londonderry and the cultural heritage of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry. The north-west facility recently received its second visitor experience award from Tourism NI.
Joint tickets, costing £10 each, are now available from all three sites and are eligible to use at each museum until September 30, 2017.