National Museum of Ireland Acquires Original Copy of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, and the National Museum of Ireland announced the acquisition of an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence on 7 March 2006. The family of Mr Joseph McCrossan, who worked for many years as Librarian in The Oireachtas, donated this copy of the Proclamation.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister O'Donoghue said: "I am very pleased that the National Museum of Ireland has acquired this valuable document. It will help interpret, in a very real way, the new 1916 exhibition being built by the Museum."

“We are deeply honoured to be presented with this document, which represents one of the most important historical documents in modern Irish history,” Dr Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland stated. “We are extremely grateful to the McCrossan family for their co-operation in making this significant document available to the Museum and to the State”

Research has proven it difficult to state how many proclamations survived the Easter Rising but they are of great rarity. In recent years, some copies surfaced from private collections but were subsequently sold for large sums of money. This donated copy has been examined in great detail and there is no reason to doubt its authenticity. Michael Kenny, Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland, confirmed that “it is in good condition and comes with a good provenance…. the proclamation was picked up in O’Connell street in 1916 by Mary McCrossan, the paternal grandmother of the McCrossans, who hid the document in the lining of her hat to protect it”.

The acquisition of the proclamation was made possible under the provisions of Section 1003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. This legislation provides for tax relief in respect of the donation of important national heritage items to the national collections. The relief consists of a tax credit equal to the value of the heritage item donated, which can be credited against particular tax liabilities incurred by the donor.

This acquisition is especially welcome as the Proclamation is central to the 1916 commemorative exhibition, The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916, which opened in the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks in April 2006 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Located in a newly renovated exhibition space, Museum experts can ensure acceptable levels of light and humidity in order to display such documents safely.

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