Museums and Creative Industries. Game of Thrones® Tapestry by Ulster Museum


Game of Thrones® TapestryDescription

The 80-metre long Game of Thrones® Bayeux-style tapestry was commissioned by Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI to celebrate the phenomenally successful television programme, and its unique contribution to Northern Ireland’s creative economy.  

From Winterfell to the Iron Islands, it depicts the famous events and locations of perhaps the most popular television series of all time. Weaving the story from Seasons 1 to 7, this monumental tapestry gives fans the opportunity to reminisce on all of the action to date.

Woven from one enormous piece of linen, supplied by the textile manufacturer Thomas Ferguson, based near the town of Banbridge in Northern Ireland, the tapestry was on display at the Ulster Museum for just over a year and attracted over 130,000 visitors.


Why is it important for a museum to cooperate with creative industries? 

It is stimulating and rewarding to collaborate with others who are leaders in their fields. This project opened new boundaries for the museum and the manufacturer. Our work in museums brings with it many significant and complex statutory responsibilities, but if these alone were our focus we would run the risk of becoming staid and irrelevant. Co-operation with the creative industries not only helps us connect with new audiences, but also proves our 21st-century credentials.


What are the main challenges of working together?

It can be a challenge to be brave enough to take risks and to do something beyond your organisation’s comfort zone. Whilst we may perceive the creative industries as being very different to museums, it is pleasantly surprising to discover how much we actually have in common: passion, creativity, drive and ingenuity.


What is the added value of cooperation between museums and creative industries?

Such cooperation raises our profile and brings us to the attention of a wider audience. In this instance we sought to increase our out-of-state audience by targeting the mass tourism market that visits Northern Ireland to experience the ‘Game of Thrones® territory’. This project allowed the Ulster Museum to successfully reflect contemporary and popular culture through its exhibitions and programming, and to make strong, pertinent connections with our collections.


Game of Thrones® Tapestry is one of the case studies featured in the report Museums and Creative Industries. Case studies from across Europe which will be presented at NEMO annual conference in November, 2018. 

Thanks to contributor of the case study Hannah Crowdy, Head of Curatorial at Ulster Museum.

Images: Ulster Museum, Belfast