Exploring history through film at Ballymoney Museum

Ballymoney Museum is privileged to be the latest access site of the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive, a collection of over 70 hours of moving images spanning 100 years of Northern Ireland’s history.

The archive covers a wide range of genres and subject-matter including drama, animation, documentaries, news, newsreels, wartime propaganda, amateur and actuality film. The earliest clips, dating back to 1897, are some of the first one-take shots of Belfast, filmed by the famed Lumière brothers, while much of the more recent footage focuses on the changing political landscape of the 1990s.

Other highlights of the collection include what is believed to be the only authentic filmed material of the Titanic, amateur human-interest footage from the BBC’s Super 8 Stories programme and a selection of rare television movies and episodes from the 1980s and 90s.

Local fans of Charlie McAfee will be pleased to see that the archive includes the popular BBC documentary ‘Charlie’s Last Film Show’ which was broadcast in 1997 and portrayed the last public showing of films by Charlie the previous year.

The Digital Film Archive (DFA) is an indispensable resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone with an interest in moving images.

All footage is accessible via the computer research station at the museum, and visitors can navigate the archive using a variety of user-friendly search options. Those with specific research interests can search by keyword, while those with a more general interest can browse by category; footage is effectively grouped by date, genre, subject-matter and location. Museum staff are also able to assist visitors in their search.

In addition to promoting and supporting local television and feature film production, Northern Ireland Screen is committed to educating the community through the use of moving images.

The DFA was launched in 2000 as part of the British Film Institute’s Millennium Project. Twelve years later, it continues to grow in terms of both