Private museum on Co Down farm will open to the public for charity event

A County Down man is throwing open the doors to his private museum and inviting the public to view the impressive collection of items he has built up over the past 80 years.

By Joanne Knox
Friday, 5th August 2022, 11:50 am

Agriculture has always been a part of Norman Kerr’s life.

He was born on a farm outside Banbridge in 1940 and has spent his life collecting interesting objects from days gone by.

A few years ago, Norman decided to bring all of these items together in one place and set about building a shed on his family farm where he could display them.

This incredible collection now makes up ‘Bann Valley Heritage’.

A key piece Norman has on display is an early prototype of the portable defibrillator which was invented by Professor Frank Pantridge.

Powered by a car battery, this device aided Professor Pantridge in the creation of a much lighter version that has gone on to save millions of people over the last five decades.

While a tour of Bann Valley Heritage is usually only available to private groups, Norman will open to the wider public on 13 August to raise funds for Air Ambulance NI.

Visitors will begin with the everyday life displays, which showcase everything from an old-style vacuum cleaner to a manual dentist drill dating back to around the late 1880s.

This section features items that would have been found in many homes throughout the years, including butter churns, cleaning implements, a kitchen set-up, as well as objects from slightly more modern times, with a range of early computers and cameras.

Guests will then peruse the section dedicated to the Irish linen industry.

Norman has a massive collection of some of the machines used in the process that helped to turn the flax grown in the fields on farms like his, into high-quality Irish linen that went on to be sold across the world.

Outside, visitors will be able to have a go at pulling their own flax in the traditional way.

Norman also has a keen interest in Irish-born inventor Harry Ferguson and guests will be able to take a look at his 15 tractor models.

The event will run from 10am until 4pm at 29 Drumnascamph Road, Laurencetown, BT63 6DU. Entry will cost £5 per person with children under 12 going free.

Flax pulling will cost £1 per person. Please note the event is cash only.

A few years ago, Norman decided to bring all of these items together in one place and set about building a shed on his family farm where he could display them.

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