Bachelor with honors, Queens University, Belfast University, 1957. Doctor of Philosophy, University Glasgow, Scotland, 1961.
Assistant University Glasgow, 1957-1960. Research officer Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Holywood, Ireland, 1960-1963, assistant keeper Ireland, 1963-1973, keeper department buildings Ireland, 1973-1986, acting director Ireland, 1986-1988, director Ireland, since 1988.
Member Society Folklife Studies (secretary 1974-1983, vice president 1983-1986, president 1986-1989).
Married Evelyn McNee Thomson Sclater, March 24, 1961. Children: Michael Andrew Thomas, Alan James.