The Registration Department is heavily involved in a number of major projects across the Museum including the following:
- Inventory Project: Phase 2
- CAST Project
- Archives and Records Management
- Digital Imaging and Online Collections
- Library Cataloguing Project
- The LGBTI+ Living Archives Project as part of the Rainbow Revolution
- LGBTI+ Staff Support Network and Pride 2020
What is the Inventory Project?
The National Museum of Ireland is planning an inventory of its core collections. The inventory project is a scaled down version of the Documentation Plan project that ran from 2009-2014. It forms a foundation for the collections documentation work carried out in the Registration Department. The project is led by the Registrar and managed by a documentation officer on the relevant sites.
What are the aims of the project?
The main aim of the Inventory is to create a database record for each object in the core collections with a museum registration number, a confirmed current location and a description from the relevant register entry. All objects are being recorded to Spectrum inventory standards: the UK standard for best practice in museum documentation.
Object information will ultimately be made available on a centralised database, accompanied by digital images as these become available. This will enable both staff and the public to have better access to more wide-ranging object information for the first time in the history of the museum.
What does the work entail?
The inventory is the first step towards documenting the NMIs collections. It is a way to quantify what the museum has and where it is, creating basic records to inventory level from the physical objects and from the relevant register entry, which is input into the record forming the primary description of the object.
What are the benefits of the project?
The Inventory Project will enable the Museum to establish the extent and scope of its collections. It will also contribute to improving the condition of the collections. For example, objects often require to be repacked in conservation-grade boxes or bags and objects covered in dust need a light brushing.
To date, the project has catalogued over 750,000 objects across all four Museum divisions. A customised database, Adlib, has been established, allowing staff and researchers ease of access to object information.
The overall effect of the project has been to open up the national collections more than has ever been possible before, thus providing much research material for future scholars and a wealth of collections information for the public to enjoy.
On behalf of the Director, the Registrar is leading the creation of a plan to exit the CRC by 2030, as part of the Collections Accommodation Solutions Project (CAST) for the long term storage of NMI reserve collections.
The CRC is a leased building where the NMI co-locates and works in partnership with the National Monuments Service. The CRC provides a high level of research access to the reserve collections and the movement of collections to this facility have included an improvement in the stability of collections and improved documentation.
Archives and Records Management
Since 2015 the Archives and Records Department has been tackling the backlog of archival listing within the Museum. To date, the following collections are being catalogued by the team:
- Easter Week Acquisition Files
- Archives of the Directorate
- Archives of the Natural History Division
- Topographical Files of the Irish Folklife Division
In 2019, a records management survey of the records of the Museum was carried out to inform the introduction of a system of records management across the Museum. Planning for the project is taking place and the new system will be rolled out in 2021.
Digitisation, Scanning and Online Collections
The Registration Department are leading the on-going digitisation of key registers and archival materials for preservation purposes but also to improve the ways people can engage with these items and the content within them.
The Registration Department are also preparing catalogue records and digital content for online publication as part of the Museum’s Online Collections Project which was initially funded as part of Creative Ireland. This work is led by the Online Collections Project Manager.
Library Cataloguing Project
A library cataloguing project has been underway on three of the four sites since 2004. The collection is in the process of being catalogued onto the Museum’s library management system (Adlib) in accordance with MARC 21 cataloguing standards; DDC 22 classification standards and Library of Congress Subject Headings.
The LGBTI+ Living Archives Project as part of the Rainbow Revolution
The Registration Department played a key role in the acquisition and preparation of digital content for inclusion in 2019’s Rainbow Revolution. At the centre of the project is an amazing collection of audio/visual recordings of more than 200 activists and members of the Irish LGBTI+ community, recorded by Mr Edmund Lynch. It also includes digitised material from the Irish Queer Archive, the Irish Trans Archive, the Cork LGBT Archive, RTE Archive film footage and contributions from many Irish photographers, artists and activists.
This was very much a collaborative community-focused project to start the introduction of LGBTI+ history at the NMI. To build on this, the Registrar is leading the LGBTI+ Living Archive Project, aimed at interview people from across the entire LGBTI+ community, and their allies, to create a rich permanent oral history record of Irish LGBTI+ history.
If you wish to be interviewed as part of the LGBTI+ Living Archive Project please contact the Registrar at
LGBTI+ Staff Support Network and Pride 2020
The Registrar represents the NMI on the first LGBTI+ Civil and Public Service Staff Network, formed by the Department of Justice and Equality in 2019. The first initiative of this network was to march as a group in Pride 2019. A small group from the NMI joined people from across the public and civil service in this march on 29th June 2019. The Registrar continues to assist with the development of this to support NMI LGBTI+ staff and allies who wish to be a part of this larger support network. The aim will be to invite staff to take part in Pride 2020 too, currently schedule for September 2020.
If anyone wishes to talk to the Registrar in relation to LGBTI+ history or support, for this, she can be reached at LGBT@museum.ie