2009 Museum of the Year Awards
KERRY COUNTY MUSEUM NAMED 2009 MUSEUM OF THE YEAR
EXCELLENCE IN MUSEUM SECTOR ACROSS ISLAND RECOGNISED BY NORTH / SOUTH AWARDS
Monday 18th May 2009: Kerry County Museum was tonight named 2009 Museum of the Year at the Museum Awards which were hosted by the Heritage Council, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Museums Council to coincide with International Museums Day.
Speaking at the Awards, Michael Starrett Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, said: “Congratulations to Kerry County Museum, which has been awarded the highest accolade of, 2009 Museum of the Year. This local authority museum is a vibrant cultural resource for the Kerry community, and the island as a whole. Its in-depth, and engaging exhibitions programme, together with its education and community programme, are testaments to the hard work and commitment of the staff at this museum”.
Chris Bailey, Director of the Northern Ireland Museums Council commented, “The Museum Awards are a fantastic cross border initiative that reward and acknowledge the excellence and growing professionalism within the sector. Over 70 entries were received from museums across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is fitting that on International Museums Day, the contribution of these museums is being recognised through this award scheme”.
The Museum and Gallery sector has, for many years, secured and conserved our heritage in return for public funding. This is a bargain with the State that is a necessity in bad times as well as good. Presenting the Awards, Professor Declan McGonagle, Director of the National College of Art and Design and Chairman of the judging committee took the opportunity to call for a new deal for the Museum sector and for its work to be valued as an essential resource for the whole of society.
“What we now need, is a new deal and debate between the Museum sector and the State, based on the argument that what Museums and Galleries do, across the country, is essential and not incidental, to remaking and sustaining a society. While the Museum sector has increased its capacity to meet its responsibilities, the question remains whether the State will invest in the continuing development of that capacity, to conserve and make heritage available to the widest range of people”, commented Professor McGonagle.
The Museum sector has demonstrated its potential to extend its reach and connect with those people who are on the margins or outside society - some of whom, in Professor McGonagle’s opinion, have become predators rather than participants within it.
“Ireland has not only an underground economy but an emerging culture of despair and alienation, which if not addressed, has the potential to do even more damage to local social space and communities. Ultimately this is a cultural issue and cultural provision, of different kinds, is central to addressing it, alongside other dimensions of the State”.
“The entrants and winners of the 2009 Museum Awards are aware that an economic downturn, even as severe as this, does not have to become a cultural recession. These Museums and Galleries clearly have the drive and commitment to make a contribution, reach into society and provide real public value. They are the ones engaging communities of interest and enhancing local and national social space. This commitment to public value has to be applauded....it also has to be resourced and the State needs to maintain its side of the bargain!”, added Professor McGonagle.
Museums that received awards at the 2009 Museum Awards include;
Museum of the Year
- Winner - Kerry County Museum
- Highly Commended - Knock Museum
Best Exhibition or Publication
- Winner - National Museum of Ireland for their exhibition – Soldiers and Chiefs; The Irish at War at Home and Abroad since 1550
- Highly Commended - Down County Museum; Down Through Time
- Derry City Council Heritage & Museum Service Tower Museum: An Armada Shipwreck - La Trinidad Valencera
Best Education & Outreach Project
- Winner - South Tipperary County Museum; Heritage in Schools Project
- Highly Commended -Kerry County Museum; What’s in the box?
Best Collections Care Project
- Winner - National Museum Northern Ireland – Ulster Museum; Ulster Museum Decant of Collections
- Highly Commended - Knock Museum; Care of Collections at Knock Museum
Zoological Museum, Trinity College; Care of Collections at Zoological Museum
Best Local Authority
- Winner - Waterford Museum of Treasures
- Highly Commended - Down County Museum