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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 - Second Term 5 years -
John Bowen, Mr 6 July 2016 - Second Term 5 years -
Linda King, Dr 18 November 2018 5 years -
Claudia Kinmonth, Dr 30 July 2021 5 years Royal Irish Academy
Ambrose Loughlin, Mr 6 July 2016 - Second Term 5 years -
Cathal O’Donoghue, Prof 30 July 2021 5 years Royal Dublin Society
Andrew Power, Dr 6 July 2016 - Second Term 5 years -
Helen Shenton, Ms 18 November 2018 5 years -
Geraldine Sheridan, Prof 30 July 2021 5 years Royal Irish Academy
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.


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).


Dr Claudia Kinmonth

Claudia Kinmonth is an art and design historian, whose early career included furniture conservation and restoration. Her Irish research began with an MA at the London’s Royal College of Art, before working at the V&A and Sir John Soane’s Museum. In 1993 the first of her books for Yale University Press, Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950 won awards and was followed by Irish Rural Interiors in Art (2006).

Her publications instigated three pioneering exhibitions on genre paintings, the most recent juxtaposing vernacular furniture (in Cork, Dublin and Boston College). The Royal Dublin Society awarded her their Library and Archives Bursary in 2018, the year of her election as a member of The Royal Irish Academy. Her latest book Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (Cork University Press) won The Durkan Prize for Language and Culture from the American Conference for Irish Studies, in 2021.

She is a Research Fellow at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, and Research Curator (Domestic Life) at the Ulster Folk Museum, as well as curatorial advisor for several museums in Cork.


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.


Prof Cathal O'Donoghue

Cathal O’Donoghue has been from 2016, the Established Chair of Social and Public Policy, at NUI Galway. From 2016-2020, he was the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences. Prior to this he was since 2005, Head of Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme. He was a member of the Fund Council of CGIAR, a $1 billion a year International Agri-Food Research organisation from 2014-2016.

From 2012-2014, he was CEO of the Irish Government's Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas 2012-2014, Chairman of the Irish Sport Horse Strategy Committee 2013-2015, and was President of the International Microsimulation Association 2011-2015. Since 2021 he has been Chair of the Foundation Board of the RDS, a member of the Board of Music for Galway and Chair of the Galway Music Centre.


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.

Prof Geraldine Sheridan

Professor Geraldine Sheridan MRIA [(BA, H Dip Ed, MA(NUI), PhD (Warwick), Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques] is Professor Emeritus in French at the University of Limerick where she lectured in many aspects of modern French culture and was Director of the Eighteenth-Century Research Group.  She served on the Governing Authority of the University of Limerick, and on the Council of the Royal Irish Academy.

She has published extensively on many aspects of eighteenth- century culture in France and Ireland and made a particular contribution to understanding the circulation of Spinoza’s ideas throughout eighteenth-century Europe in French underground manuscripts.  She also studied the impact of the Huguenot diaspora on education, including those who settled in Ireland, while some of her most recent publications have contributed to revising the profile of women working in the trades and arts throughout eighteenth-century Europe.

Professor Sheridan has served in many academic and honorary research positions in France and the United States where she was Fulbright Professor. Throughout her career she has had a particular interest in fostering diversity and inclusion: social, gender-based and regional.


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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