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Board of the Museum

The Board of the Museum comprises a chairperson and 15 ordinary members.

The Board of the National Museum of Ireland has four subcommittees that focus on specific areas outlined in the NMI’s current Strategic Plan: Building Capacity, Driving Change 2019-2022  and the NMI’s Master Vision Statement: 2018-2032.

The principal functions of the Board is:

To maintain, manage, control, protect, preserve, record, research and enlarge the collection of museum heritage objects for the benefit of the public and to increase and diffuse in and outside the State knowledge of human life in Ireland, of the natural history of Ireland and of the relations of Ireland in these respects with other countries.

Members of the Board


Date of Appointment

Term Nominated By
Catherine Heaney, Ms (Chair) 6 July 2016 5 years -
John Bowen, Mr 6 July 2016 5 years -
Mary Crotty, Ms 6 July 2016 (re-appointed) 5 years -
Ingrid Hook, Prof 6 July 2016 5 years RDS
Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Prof 6 July 2016 5 years Royal Irish Academy
Linda King, Dr 18 November 2018 5 years -
Ambrose Loughlin, Mr 6 July 2016 5 years -
Judith McCarthy, Ms 6 July 2016 5 years -
Denise Moroney, Ms 6 July 2016 5 years -
Declan Nelson, Mr 6 July 2016 5 years -
Mary O'Dowd, Prof 6 July 2016 5 years Royal Irish Academy
Andrew Power, Dr 6 July 2016 5 years -
Helen Shenton, Ms 18 November 2018 5 years -
Paolo Viscardi, Mr 18 November 2018 5 years Staff Nominee
Barra O'Donnabhain, Dr 5 October 2020    5 years -
Susan Rogers, Dr            5 October 2020   5 years -

Ms Catherine Heaney (Chair)

Catherine Heaney is founder and Director of DHR Communications, a full service public relations and public affairs agency which was launched in 2004 and is based in Dublin. Before setting up DHR, Catherine was Chief Executive of the Irish Family Planning Association and served as Press Officer for the Labour Party.

She has studied at the University of Ulster and the DIT School of Journalism. She has studied law at post graduate level and completed the programme in Global Communications at Columbia University in New York. 

She has since lectured on that programme in Columbia, and is an architect of the MA in Journalism and PR at Griffith College in Dublin. Catherine is a thought-leader in the Corporate Social Responsibility space in Ireland, and was appointed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to sit on the Government’s Corporate Social Responsibility Forum. 

She recently served on the Heritage Council, where she chaired its Finance and Audit Committee.


Mr John Bowen

John Bowen is CEO of BowenConsult which provides strategic consultancy services and serves on the boards of a number of private companies as director or Chairman. A Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, he has a strong business background, and is a qualified negotiator and an Accredited Mediator.

His career included engineering and management roles prior to joining the Bowen Group, where as CEO he oversaw its growth to become one of Ireland’s leading construction organisations.  He was Chairman of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork from 2006-2016 and is a Warden of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin which is responsible for the Assay Office at Dublin Castle.


Ms Mary Crotty

Mary Crotty began her career with the Irish Tourist Board in New York, before returning to Dublin to take up the post of in-house Public Relations Manager with the Jurys Hotel Group. Mary established a strong network of contacts and went on to establish her own PR firm in1983, a consumer and corporate focused Public Relations Consultancy. Mary is a graduate of Communications from NYU.

Over the past 30 years, Mary has led many memorable Public Relations campaigns on behalf of National and International Brands, as well as being Unit Publicist on a number of films, most notably Michael Collins. Mary is a former Board Member of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Ireland and former Chairperson of the International Public Relations Network.

She was appointed to the Board of the National Museum Ireland for a second term in 2016.


Professor Ingrid Hook - Nominee of the Royal Dublin Society

Ingrid Hook is a pharmacist and until retirement, was Senior Lecturer and Head of School at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. Ingrid has previously held positions as a Member of Council for the Consumer Association of Ireland, CAI Representative to the Health and Safety Authority and was a member of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA, previously IMB).

She is currently an expert on the HPRA’s Herbal Medicines Sub-Committee and a member of the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy.  She joined the RDS in 1973, becoming Chair of the Committee of Science and Technology and a Member of the Foundation Board (from 2013 to 2016) and was elected to Council (2014) and subsequently to the Board of Management (2016). 


Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty – Nominee of the Royal Irish Academy

Kathleen James-Chakraborty is Professor of Art History at University College Dublin. From 2016 to 2017, she was the Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at Yale University.  She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Board of the Chester Beatty Library, and the past Chair of the Board of the Irish Architecture Foundation. 

Her recent books include Architecture since 1400 (Minnesota, 2014) and the edited collection India in Art in Ireland (Routledge, 2016).


Dr Linda King

Linda King is a historian, educator and broadcaster, specialist in Irish Design and Visual and Material Culture. She is a regular contributor to radio and television, most recently as the design curator for the television series National Treasures (RTÉ1, 2018). She worked as an assistant curator and researcher at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, and was the Visiting Scholar in Design and Irish Studies at Concordia University, Montreal.

Her background is as a graphic designer and she is co-programme chair of the Visual Communication Design programme at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) Dublin. In 2011 Linda received an award for 'Outstanding Contribution to Irish Design' from the IDI (Institute of Designers in Ireland) for her contribution to Dublin City Council's bid for World Design Capital.

She is an invited member of the UNESCO-affiliate AICA (the International Association of Art Critics) and is co-editor of the landmark publication Ireland, Design and Visual Culture: Negotiating Modernity, 1922-92 (2011).


Mr Ambrose Loughlin

Ambrose Loughlin is Head of Risk and Compliance with McCann FitzGerald, one of Ireland’s leading law firms. Between 1995 and February 2017 he was a partner with the firm specialising in advising on financial regulatory and corporate governance matters for many of the international banking, investment funds and insurance businesses operating both in Ireland and outside Ireland. 

He has particular expertise advising on anti-money laundering, false accounting and fraud investigations. Ambrose has served as Chair of the Audit Committee of the Department of Finance since 2014.


Ms Judith McCarthy

Judith McCarthy has been the Curator of Donegal County Museum since 1994. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Ancient History/Archaeology and History from Trinity College and subsequently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Administration in University College Dublin. She worked in the National Museum of Ireland and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris before taking up her current position in Donegal.

Donegal County Museum achieved maintenance of Full Accreditation in the Museum Standards Programme of Ireland in 2015.  The Museum has developed successful partnerships with other museums, groups and organisations both locally and nationally, to promote and preserve the heritage of Donegal.


Ms Denise Moroney

Denise Moroney is founder and Managing Director of Brand Dynamics. With a Masters degree in Business Studies from University College Dublin, a recent Post-Grad in Digital Marketing, her experience as Head of Marketing at The Irish Times and Marketing Manager of Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, Denise's expertise lies in brand development, strategic marketing, market research, and digital marketing strategy.

Her unstoppable quest for developing leading edge, inspirational solutions to marketing challenges won her the position of Chairman of The Marketing Society of Ireland for two years 1994-1996 and election to Council of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce in 2000 - 2013.


Mr Declan Nelson

Declan Nelson is a native of County Louth.  He studied at Bolton Street College of Technology and University College Dublin. The bulk of his career was spent in the local government service, which culminated in his appointment as Monaghan County Manager in 2000.

He has extensive experience of working with all areas of the public sector, including Government Departments, statutory bodies and other state agencies, E.U. Institutions and Cross Border bodies. He has served as a member of various boards and was Chairman of the Local Government Computer Services Board and Monaghan County Development Board.


Professor Mary O'Dowd - Nominee of the Royal Irish Academy

Mary O’Dowd is Professor of Gender History at Queen’s University of Belfast. She was a founding member of the Women's History Association of Ireland and is an honorary member of the Board of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History.  Her research focuses on the history of women and gender in Ireland. 

She is author of A History of Women in Ireland, 1500-1800 (2005) and has recently completed a co-authored study of the history of marriage in Ireland, 1660-1925.  She is a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission and was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2010. 


Dr Andrew Power

Andrew Power is Registrar at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire, the leading Irish educator in the cultural, digital media and film sectors. Before moving into higher education, Andrew worked for many years in the private sector for multinationals such as Digital Equipment (now Hewlett Packard), Intel Ireland and Irish eLearning company CBT Systems (Skillsoft).

Originally qualified as an Engineer, Andrew has since completed further postgraduate studies in music and the arts, an MBA, and a Doctorate in Governance. Andrew has published a number of books and papers on issues of technological and societal governance in a digital age. 


Ms Helen Shenton

Helen Shenton is a Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin. She moved to Ireland in 2014 from Cambridge, Massachusetts where she was Executive Director of Harvard Library. Prior to Harvard, Helen worked at the British Library where she led the care of the UK’s national documentary heritage and national printed archive. That followed positions in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where she was deeply involved with the conservation, care and display of the world-renowned decorative arts collections.

Helen has published and presented widely in international forums and mediums, including TEDxDublin. She represents Trinity on a number of national and international forums, and is a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Mr Paolo Viscardi

Paolo Viscardi is the Curator of Zoology at the National Museum of Ireland. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biology and Geology from the University of Bristol and an MPhil in Animal Anatomy and Physiology from the University of Leeds.

Before taking up his current post he worked in London for a decade, most recently as the Curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology, and prior to that as Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Paolo chairs the Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA), a UK-based charity with a focus on the professional care and use of natural history collections. He is passionate about science communication, running the weekly blog ‘Zygoma’, founding the monthly sci-comm event ‘Science in the Pub’, giving public talks and performances, and working as scientific advisor for the BBC television documentary series ‘Secrets of Bone’ (2014) and ‘Secrets of Skin’ (2019).


Dr Barra O’Donnabhain

Dr. Barra O’Donnabhain is an archaeologist who teaches at University College Cork.  His specialism is    bioarchaeology, the contextualised analysis of archaeological human remains.  O’Donnabhain has directed and collaborated in archaeological projects in a number of world areas.  His recent focus has been on institutional confinement. 

From 2012 to 2018 he conducted excavations at the 19th century prison at Spike Island in Cork harbour.  He is co-editor of the 2018 volume “Archaeological Human Remains: Legacies of Imperialism, Communism, and Colonialism” published by Springer, New York.  He is a member of the Academic Board of the Los Angeles-based Institute for Field Research.   


Dr Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers is a lecturer in design and education at at the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Letterfrack, Co. Galway. Before joining GMIT Letterfrack she spent many years teaching the history and theory of design and visual communication at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). She studied Visual Communication at NCAD, before completing a Masters degree in Design Education, also at NCAD. She completed a D. Phil in Design Theory at the University of Ulster.

A member of the Institute of Designers in Ireland she has taken a central role on many collaborative projects to promote design in the west of Ireland. Her expertise includes exhibition curation and conference organisation. She is keenly interested in Irish design, our traditional crafts heritage and its influence on contemporary design practice, as well as Irish language and culture.

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