Museum Treasures

Ballycroghan SwordsThe museum has a number of important artefacts relating to the history of North Down. The Treasures of the collection are the Ballycroghan Swords, Bangor Bell and Raven Maps.

The Ballycroghan Swords were discovered in 1949 by Mr Patterson, while ploughing his fields on the outskirts of Bangor. The hoard is important as it demonstrates the different stages in sword production during the Bronze Age. The swords are dated to c. 500BC and are the key pieces in the Archaeology collection. Bangor Bell

The highlight of the Bangor Abbey collection is the Bangor Bell, found in the Abbey graveyard around 1780. It is a bronze hand-bell, beautifully decorated with an incised cross and key pattern around the base. The bell is one of only three such examples in Ireland and is believed to be from the 9th century.

Raven Maps Frontispiece

In the early 1600's, James Hamilton was responsible for the development of the landscape and several ‘towns’ in County Down, including Bangor. The vast area covered by his estate can be seen in the Raven Maps, drawn up in 1625 - 26 and named after the cartographer, Thomas Raven. They are the only complete Folio of Plantation-era maps remaining in Ireland. The maps, on display in the museum, are also digitised, enabling visitors to fully explore the detail in the Folio.