During a trip to Belfast over the Jubilee weekend, Wendy took the opportunity to visit Whitehead Railway Museum.
The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland have had a presence on the site of the Whitehead Excursion Station since the 1960s where they have been renovating steam trains and running them on the mainline across Ireland.
Wendy led the exhibition design team on a two year project from 2017 to transform the site into a working museum which allowed the public to get up close to the workshops, to see how locomotives and carriages are restored, and to learn about the history of the railways in Ireland.
Visiting the museum for the first time since it opened, Wendy was delighted to see how the project had impacted the Whitehead community providing volunteering and job opportunities, as well as informing visitors of the history of the railways and how they shaped communities across the country.
Volunteer guide, John, brought the exhibitions to life highlighting his favourite stories and interpreting the technical aspects of how locomotives work in an easy-to-understand way. His tour was peppered with his own stories of growing up around the railways and - for the Jubilee weekend - his memories of the Queen’s visits to Northern Ireland.
Live traditional music in the station’s recreated Edwardian cafe was a highlight of the visit and it was lovely to see young families along with older visitors enjoying the museum and interacting with the exhibits.
It was this project that inspired Wendy to join the board of Dundee Museum of Transport, recognising the power of museums to change lives and transform communities. The museum’s planned relocation to the Maryfield Tram Depot has the potential to create a community hub with many more opportunities for volunteering, apprenticeships and jobs, as well as bringing alive the history of transport in region, and educating visitors on the future of transport and its environmental impact.
Read more about the Whitehead Railway Museum project here.