The excellent Ulster American Folk Park re-creates a Tyrone village of two centuries ago, a log-built American settlement of the same period, and the docks and ships that the emigrants to America would have used. The centerpiece is an old whitewashed cottage, now a museum, which is the ancestral home of Thomas Mellon (1813–1908), the U.S. banker and philanthropist. Another thatch cottage is a reconstruction of the boyhood home of Archbishop John Hughes, founder of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. There are full-scale replicas of Irish peasant cottages, a New York tenement room, immigrant transport ship holders, plus a 19th-century Ulster village, complete with staff dressed in period costumes. The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies contains 16,000 books and periodicals, an Irish emigration database including passenger lists from 1800 to 1860, emigrant letters, and maps of geographical regions of both Ireland and America. The center has separate opening hours to the folk park: 10:30
am to 4:30 pm.
Other notable exhibits include William Murray's drapery store and W. G. O'Doherty's original candy store on the bustling Ulster Street, where visitors can explore the world of retail therapy in the early 1900s.
As you wander around the folk park, you will detect its sensory side, especially in the delightful enclosed herb garden next to the Pennsylvania log farmhouse. Elsewhere the park is imbued with wood smoke from the burning fires as well as apple butter and cinnamon spices from the cornmeal bread being baked in the houses: all part of the education of a good nose.