The Braid: Ballymena Town Hall

Ballymena, Northern Ireland

The Braid was the first newly built museum to open in Northern Ireland in forty years. Named after the river that runs through Ballymena—and as tribute to the local flax-linen industry—the Braid weaves local history, arts, and culture into contemporary conference and civic facilities. Set within a landmarked town hall, the Braid’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Ballymena, placing Mid-Antrim events within the wider scope of UK and European history. The historical-political conflict is told from multiple perspectives, including Nationalist and Unionist, and studies the region from prehistory to modern times.

Within the 14-meter-high, light-filled atrium, two installations create a singular identity for the Braid. Faces of Change includes images of local people and place names within a steel cable weave, representing the "mesh" of the community and reflecting the town’s industrial heritage. The Collections Wall features a selection of artifacts; touch-screen interactive terminals invite visitors to explore the stories behind them.

Another key feature is the Distant Past display, which reflects early human settlement featuring prehistoric artifacts. The History Gallery explores themes of identity, people, and place, with collections supported by interactives. A 24-meter historical Timeline puts key local, national, and international events in context.

RAA consulted with residents of the region, who recounted their memories of local, national, and international history. RAA then filtered these memories, using archival media, into multi-screen video installations.

Year:
2008
Client:
Ballymena Museum Development Foundation
Architect:

Consarc

Size:

5,382 square feet

Awards:
© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.