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The offices of Ards and North Down Borough Council are housed in Bangor Castle, the former home of the Ward family. The stable-block, laundry rooms and food stores were converted to North Down Museum which opened in 1984. The Museum tells the story of the local area from the Bronze Age to the present. Alongside the permanent displays the Museum runs a programme of temporary exhibitions with accompanying events for all ages. The collection originated with a selection of paintings left in the Castle by the Ward family. When the Council acquired the building a public appeal was made for works of art and furniture to dress the Castle. Gifts and bequests from local artists, collectors and families have enhanced the collection over the years. The Museum continues to commission and acquire paintings whose subject or artist is of local significance. The style of paintings range from eighteenth-century gallery copies to landscapes and still lifes to portraits.