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New £1m museum to open in Loughgall this summer

A new £1m museum promoting Orange Heritage is to open in Loughgall early this summer.

It is one of two new museums and interpretive centres in Northern Ireland, at a cost of £3.5m, aimed at promoting the Order’s heritage.

Back in 2013, Armagh I exclusively revealed the plans for the museum to be opened in the county Armagh village. The projects are entirely funded by EU Peace III money.

Denis Watson, who is the county grandmaster of Armagh, told the BBC, that historically important exhibits will be on display along with a re-staging of the signing of the warrants in Sloan’s parlour.

“We have the roll book of Loyal Orange Lodge 25 dating back to 1796 which only came into our possession recently,” he said.

“We also have an original blunderbuss actually fired during the Battle of the Diamond. So there will be plenty for people to see when they come into the centre.”

“I think it’s useful as Northern Ireland moves forward into what people describe as the ‘shared future’ that everybody understands each other’s culture,” he said.

Jonathan Pattison, curator of both museums, said: “This project will help to highlight one of the biggest cultural groups in Northern Ireland and the Republic.”

Speaking when funding was originally announced, Pat Colgan, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body, said: “Upon its completion, this EU funded project will promote a greater awareness of the history and traditions of the Orange Order.

“By proactively reaching out to people, on a cross-community basis, the Order will be able to demystify many of the existing perceptions of what it is. This open and honest dialogue will lead to a positive understanding of Orangeism and its place within our society.”

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