For immediate release: April 27, 2021: The National Museum of Ireland (NMI) has today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme, that the Museum is to receive the first phase of a €2.2 million capital funding investment, towards the development of new 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries at the NMI - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin. This is the most significant single capital funding investment received by the National Museum since 2006 when it developed its permanent Soldiers and Chiefs: The Irish at War at Home and Abroad from 1550 to the present-day exhibition.
The 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries will be located across the upper level of the North Block of Clarke Square in Collins Barracks, which has never been open to the public. This funding will be used for essential refurbishment works and to develop the first phase of the 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries, which will span the last 120 years of contemporary Irish history, from 1900 to 2020, representing the largest ever interpretive showcase of Irish political, cultural and social history for this period.
It is also the aim of the Museum to develop the last remaining floor of the North Block, covering the period 1600 to 1900.
Work will commence this year and the first phase of the exhibition - examining the 20th Century - will open in 2023, coinciding with the centenary of the foundation of the Irish Free State. The Museum is planning a process of public consultation to inform the curatorial process of the exhibition, so as to ensure it is inclusive and representative of our complex history.
It is the ambition of the Museum that 20th Century History of Ireland will resonate with a wide range of audiences – at home and abroad - and that it will seek to serve as a dynamic and evolving cultural offering that can respond rapidly to questions of changing Irish history and our contemporary identity. It will also ensure that hundreds of thousands of artefacts in the national collection, go on display for the first-time ensuring opportunities for communities throughout Ireland to engage, enjoy and learn from these objects of contemporary history.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “Our National Cultural Institutions have a significant role in the Decade of Centenaries Programme and they create opportunities for people of all traditions to reflect upon the complexities of the events of this period and the various related themes. I am delighted that my Department is supporting the development of this project. I hope that the project will demonstrate the important legacy of the Decade of Centenaries and create a world-class exhibition which reflects the last 120 years of Ireland's history in a compelling and connected way.”
Catherine Heaney, Chair, National Museum of Ireland, said: “The 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries, will offer an important opportunity for a wider public consultation process with communities across Ireland – and our diaspora - on our contemporary history, ensuring that the exhibition is relevant and engaging to multiple audiences and identities within our communities. We will be asking the public to help us decide what objects and what stories best reflect our collective history since 1900. We want to ensure that the story of Ireland is meaningful and connects with the lives of all of our citizens. The historical collections of the National Museum of Ireland number in their hundreds of thousands, and these new, permanent exhibition galleries will represent the largest ever interpretive showcase of Irish political, cultural and social history dating from the year 1900 to the present.”
Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Lynn Scarff, said; “Ireland has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 120 years. This investment provides the Museum with an exciting and timely opportunity to reflect on the events and the lived experiences of people in Ireland through politically historical milestones such as the establishment of the Irish Free State and The Troubles, right through to the more recent pivotal moments for society such as referendums on divorce, equal marriage, and abortion rights, as well as changing patterns of migration, housing, education and business over this last century. Most importantly, we will be initiating a public consultation process to run alongside our expert advisory committee. Both of these processes will be critical to enable the Museum to navigate the curation of this important period of Irish history and ensure that all voices, particularly those traditionally under represented are present through the narrative of this exhibition.”
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About the National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is the nation’s premier cultural institution and home to the greatest collections of Irish heritage, culture and history. Admission is free.
The National Museum of Ireland has 4 public sites, and a Collections Repository:
- National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology (Kildare Street, Dublin)
- National Museum of Ireland – Natural History (Merrion Street, Dublin)
- National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History (Collins Barracks, Dublin)
- National Museum of Ireland – Country Life (Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo)
Currently due to Covid-19 restrictions all Museums are closed to the Public however please engage with us on the following platforms;