Eamon De Valera opened the original ‘Augusta Bender Memorial Room of Far Eastern Art’ at the National Museum of Ireland, formed by the Irish-American insurance broker and philanthropist Albert Bender, on 25 June 1934.
The importance of Eamon De Valera's attendance
The fact that the President of the Executive Council officiated at such an opening is an indication as to how important Albert Bender’s donations to the Museum were viewed.
The then director of the museum, Dr. Adolf Mahr, wrote the speech De Valera gave that day. Every opportunity was given to stress the importance of fostering benefactors in the newly independent Ireland, and to Asian material in the context of world heritage.
The opening was a huge social occasion with government ministers, ambassadors, senior civil servants and many of Dublin’s important intellectuals in attendance.