I have had quite an eventful summer, visiting loads of museums and heritage events and felt it was about time I wrote up my thoughts on these events.
I have a feeling that this blog may go on a bit so rather than bore my loyal readers/followers I thought it best to break it down into manageable and easy to digest portions. The first big issue that arose from doing this for me was how to break it down!! One of the biggest issues that you will ever face when working on an exhibition, should i present my work thematically or chronologically???
I have decided due to the varied nature of my summer excursions that I will keep it thematic. Part one is going to focus on the different museums I have visited over the summer. There have been quite a few, between nerding it up with fellow museum heads and popping into every museum I noticed while on holidays the numbers have really piled up. Be prepared for some repeat faces in the accompanying photographs!! Once you find people that share your passion for heritage and culture you tend to hold on tight. 🙂
One of the museums I visited over the summer and surprisingly for the first time ever was the Natural History Museum in Dublin. I have always wanted to go there but never managed to get the time. This summer on a recent reunion of university friends (We joined forces in 2011, while undertaking the MA in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies in University of Ulster), we spent a day in Dublin visiting museums and soaking up the culture. The Natural History Museum was high up on the list and finally got to share its wonder with us. I have to say I was impressed with the museum, it is very old fashioned with the wooden cabinets and ‘old school’ labels, but it completely works. The way the museum is displayed is, in itself a museum of how museums used to be. The displays are well laid out with a huge variety of artefacts. Chatting with Spotticus on Twitter was a highlight, that giraffe really is a character!!
I can not say enough positive things about the Chester Beatty Library. This is the type of museum that you can just get lost in! The exhibits are fascinating, depicting far off cultures and their intriguing cultures. I have visited The Chester Beatty numerous times and never seem to get enough of it. I recently brought some friends on a short visit there and was astounded to hear how disappointed they were to find that the LIBRARY wasn’t filled with old books. I guess not everyone will agree on everything.
Other museums I have had the pleasure of visiting this summer include my former workplace Monaghan County Museum and the newly opened Waterford Museum of Treasures’ Medieval Museum. Monaghan is the oldest local authority museum in the country and that shines through with their collection. The museum houses an impressive collection and has utilised its limited space exceptional well. I may be slightly biased seen as I know the museum and its staff so well, but I would definitely recommend this museum to anyone who wanted to see how Local Authority museums in Ireland are run. It really is leading the way with standards and professionalism.
The Medieval Museum in Waterford is stunning, the building, the layout, the displays are all eye catching and beautifully laid out. My only problem with this visit was that it wasn’t long enough. I attended an evening lecture and unfortunately only got to see a small amount of what this museum has to offer. Definitely on the list for a revisit very soon.
I also paid a repeat visit to the National Museum Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks. This museum has so much to offer to visitors. There is a huge amount of artefacts meaning that for one visit taking in the whole museum is just impossible. One of the best things about this museum for me is the building. The grounds are spectacular with the central courtyard being in itself a fantastic snapshot of Irish history. Well worth a visit for anyone looking for a way to spend the afternoon.
You can’t beat a good poised museum snap!!!! Interactives are not just for the youth.
Overall the museums I visited this summer were all exciting and interesting. Everyone knows that the economic downturns has had an adverse effect on the cultural sector but it is very promising to see that museums are still doing well and hopefully will continue to do so for a long time to come. If not, I don’t know how I will spend my holidays and free time.