At least 12 US presidents had family connections to Ulster and part of this museum is dedicated to the seventh president, ‘Old Hickory’ Andrew Jackson who was in office from 1829 until 1837.
The Jackson exhibition is housed in a thatched cottage built in the 1750s, similar to the one left in 1765 by Jackson’s parents when they migrated to South Carolina. The main living space and bedrooms of the cottage are set out in the style of the 18th century, while the parlour is dedicated to the Jackson family and the career of their most famous son.
In the War of 1812 Andrew Jackson served as American military commander. He became a national hero after defeating the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans and earned his nickname when supporters described him as tough as Old Hickory wood. Jackson later served two terms as president during which he was able to shape the new Democratic Party.
In the garden is an exhibition dedicated to the US Rangers, who were formed at Carrickfergus in 1942. Based on the British commandoes, the Rangers were stationed a short distance from the cottage. They were a spearhead of the Allied D-Day landings and of the 500 volunteers who first formed the Rangers at Carrickfergus, only 87 were alive by the end of the war. The exhibition includes letters sent by serving Rangers and the equipment that they would have carried with them.
Don’t miss: the Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland given to US servicemen during the Second World War.