For the final part of my blog about the NI & ROI Museum Network Event I will be discussing our visit to The Little Museum of Dublin. I have to say this was one of the most enjoyable and refreshing museums I have visited in a long time. The atmosphere in the museum was so relaxed and the staff were so welcoming. The museum is a people’s museum representing the many different branches of life in Dublin in the 20th century. The museum put a call out for objects in 2011 and have since been given over 5,000 objects on loan or donated.
We visited the museum on the Sunday with a smaller contingent than the previous day. This worked well in that we had a very chilled afternoon with nobody under pressure to leave early for buses, trains etc. Firstly we were treated to a tour of the museum by John, one of the museum guides. His manner and style in delivering the story of the museum and the history was fantastic. It was very engaging and informative but it wasn’t overwhelming. The stories we were told were of real people and what in other institutions may be deemed as mundane events.
One of the most interesting stories for me was of the 1hour of ‘No fire’ that was held everyday during the 1916 rebellion so that James kearney could feed his prize winning ducks in St Stephen’s green. This story stayed with me and I have found myself in the last few weeks retelling the tale to people. I think this shows the true power of this establishment in that the stories really resonant with people and stay with them long after the tour is finished.
The museum collection is a random selection of artefacts that give a glimpse inside a varried and vibrant history of Dublin. The permanent exhibition is spread across two rooms, with the top floor being a temporary exhibition space. The rooms are filled with objects and you could spend hours looking around taking in all the tales the museum has to tell.
One room is filled with framed posters, newspaper articles and pictures. I loved the way in which these were displayed in that the frames were all different and random giving a more relaxed feel to the space. The whole feel of the space is one of informal learning. You are invited to enjoy the space, take a seat on the comfy coach and explore the displays at your leisure.
After our tour we were joined by the Director of Development Sarah Costigan. Sarah is a fantastic spokesperson for the museum, she speaks passionately about it’s collection and their committed to the museum’s role within the community. It is wonderful to see museum staff that are exited about the future and are striving to create a museum that will grow and change with the needs of the people it represents.
The events that are run through the museum are extremely popular and I aim to be able to attend some of their lectures this coming year.
The museum is a registered charity and works hard to be a space that can provide an educational and enjoyable learning experience for their community. They run free workshops for school children and offer free days to allow those who can not afford the admission fee a chance to explore the space.
I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the museum and will definitely be returning soon to explore more of the fabulous collection they have on offer.
Being such a young museum it is encouraging to see how much they have achieved in such a short space of time. The museum is a brilliant example of how you can create an informal relaxed space that encourages engagement and learning. I think the museum is a fantastic representation of what a museum should be and it is one I will be recommending to anyone who is looking for a fun and interesting activity to do in Dublin.