Our Vision:

The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies vision is that of ‘an informed community, confidently and creatively engaged with its migration history, culture and heritage’.

Who We Are

Welcome to The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies. We are a dedicated resource Centre with specialist expertise in the story of the migration of the peoples of the island of Ireland across the globe.  

Thank you for giving me of your time last week. I found the visit very helpful and the information gleaned beneficial.
Rachel, NI

Our Centre which is located near Omagh, County Tyrone, offers you the opportunity to access a comprehensive migration library which houses an extensive range of resources that have been collected over four decades.

When you visit our Centre, you have access to a reference collection of around 18,500 volumes, journals, maps, newspapers, computers and the Centre’s Irish Emigration Database, which is now available online. The Centre is a library rather than an archive and so, does not hold original primary source material. 

We are part of Libraries NI’s  Heritage Service and are located at the Ulster American Folk Park which is part of National Museums NI.

We work closely with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, the Ulster University and the Ulster Historical Foundation.

The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies is the primary project of the Scotch-Irish Trust of Ulster.  The Scotch-Irish Trust established the Ulster-American Folk Park in 1976 which today is a part of National Museums NI.

The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS) was established in 1998. It brings together three main elements:

Mellon Centre for Migration Studies Library, established in the early 1980s
The Irish Emigration Database Project, begun in 1988 and
QUB Masters degree in Irish Migration Studies, taught from 1996 until 2012 with continuing contribution to QUB programmes in History and Public History.

Mr M D Higgins, President of Ireland, signs a copy of his book held at MCMS

Mrs. Higgins looking through the Irish Emigration Database

Our Mission:

The MCMS mission is ‘to serve the community as a leading international institution for the study of human migration, focusing on the peoples of Ireland world-wide’

Our Centre story

On the appointment in 1998 of a full-time Director, the Centre for Emigration Studies was re-named the Centre for Migration Studies to reflect its broader concern with the whole phenomenon of human migration, including immigration, internal migration and return migration as well as emigration.

In September 2011, the Centre for Migration Studies was re-named the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies in acknowledgement of the continuing interest and support of the Mellon family through the Scotch-Irish Trust of Ulster, which had been established in 1967.

MCMS is a joint project between the Scotch-Irish Trust and the Northern Ireland government.  Responsibility for co-funding was transferred from the Department of Education to the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure in 1999 and then to the newly-established Department for Communities in 2016.

As of 1 October 1998, the Trust ceased to manage the Ulster-American Folk Park, which is now merged with the Ulster Museum and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum as part of the National Museums NI (NMNI). The Scotch-Irish Trust continues to own the Mellon Homestead which is the heart of the Ulster-American Folk Park. The main focus of the Trust’s work is now the maintenance of the Mellon Homestead and the operation of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies.

Our connection with the Ulster American Folk Park

The main aim of the Centre’s work is to promote migration studies by maintaining and developing the complementary relationship between the Centre and the Ulster American Folk Park.

This has been assured through membership of the MCMS Advisory Committee by a representative of National Museums NI.  MCMS is committed to working closely with the Ulster American Folk Park as it develops within NMNI as a national museum of emigration.

Our relationship with Libraries NI

MCMS is committed to working closely with Libraries NI, a core partner in our project.  Our experienced Library staff are employees of Libraries NI and the Centre is one of nine specialist Heritage Libraries within Northern Ireland. We are committed to taking account of the strategic analysis and policy objectives of  Libraries NI and all our other partners.

Who uses our Centre

Our Centre welcomes a wide range of people interested in migration studies. The Centre attracts those from our community and members of the Diaspora.  Our resources are used by many who have an interest in their family migration stories, including many roots tourists.

 Visitors come to explore the context and history surrounding their family stories and the Centre also supports staff working in the Ulster American Folk Park.