Linen Hall Library Awarded Museum Accreditation

Belfast institution recognised for quality standards across renowned collections, boosting its international profile and opening up new funding opportunities

Belfast's Linen Hall Library has been awarded museum accreditation by Arts Council England in partnership with the Northern Ireland Museums Council.

The accreditation applies to three of the library’s renowned collections: Burns and Burnsiana which is the largest collection of Robert Burns material and ephemera outside of Scotland; the Northern Ireland Political Collection which numbers around 350,000 items relating to the Troubles; and Belfast and Early Provincial Printed Books, an extensive catalogue of titles which includes the oldest book printed in Belfast.

Julie Andrews, Linen Hall Library Director, said: 'This is wonderful news for the library. We have put an enormous amount of effort into the preparation for this award, and it’s hugely satisfying that all of our hard work has paid off. The award will propel the Linen Hall into a new stratum of international recognition and give us much needed access to new funding streams.'

Daniel Taylor, NIMC Development Officer, commented: 'The Northern Ireland Museums Council would like to congratulate the Linen Hall Library on attaining full museum accreditation. We are delighted to have been able to support the library throughout the process, and this award is a reflection of all of their hard work to meet the standard. They are a welcome addition to the 43 already accredited museums in Northern Ireland.'

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The Accreditation Scheme sets out nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. It defines good practice and identifies agreed standards, thereby encouraging development. It is a baseline quality standard that helps guide museums to be the best they can be, for current and future users.

In September the Linen Hall Library launched a new digital resource making available for the first time historical manuscripts, drafts, letters, unpublished works and more by some of Northern Ireland's most influential writers.

It begins in the late 19th century with the work of Samuel Ferguson featuring two of his poems, ‘Conary’ and ‘Deirdre’, and moves through the 20th century and into the 21st century with Joan Lingard, who continues to write. Amongst the many fascinating and insightful items are letters from Louis MacNeice to George and Mercy McCann, local benefactors and supporters of the Arts; Joan Lingard’s manuscript for the book Across the Barricades; Sam Hanna Bell’s original manuscript of his controversial novel December Bride, which was made into a film; and an unpublished work by Stewart Parker recounting his Belfast childhood.

The Northern Ireland Literary Archive is available to browse at www.niliteraryarchive.com. For more information on the Linen Hall Library visit www.linenhall.com, or for the Arts Council England Accreditation Scheme go to www.artscouncil.org.uk/accreditation-scheme/about-accreditation.