The key focus of the day was to highlight the significant work of museums on our island, both north and south of the border, with a particular emphasis on the role museums played in this historic year of commemoration. Museums across the country, working in collaboration with communities, have brought epic tales of passion, patriotism and sacrifice to the public in an array of thought-provoking and engaging exhibitions and events.
The Minister also officially launched the LAMN’s new exhibition ‘1916 Across the Country’ and the IMA’s new Irish Museums Survey. This exhibition was developed by the LAMN to provide a snapshot of some of the key stories brought to light through the work of the local authority museums that make up the network. Clare Museum’s contribution, highlighted in an earlier blog post, features the Committal Form of Countess Markievicz from May 1916.
The exhibition represents the key role played by museums in exploring and presenting the story of 1916 to millions of visitors throughout the year. This point was highlighted by Minister Humphreys when she referred to the legacy of the 1916 year of commemorations and the vital part that the museum sector has and will play in the future development of the heritage sector in Ireland.
The Irish Museum Survey was carried out by the IMA in partnership with University College Dublin and is the first comprehensive quantitative and qualitative survey of Irish museums, north and south, for more than a decade. The report shows that more than six million people visit Irish museums annually and also outlines the challenges being faced by our museums, with the effects of the economic recession clearly evidenced since the last report in 2004. The real value of the survey is that it provides the tools to make evidence-based arguments both for the importance of museums and the need for increasing the supports available to them.