Heritage Council rewards excellence on day of celebration for Irish museums

News /

13 museums were celebrated at a ceremony in Kilkenny Castle today having achieved official accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI).

Established to promote professional standards in museums, selection under the MSPI is a major accolade with accredited museums considered to have attained excellence across a range of areas.

Three sites at Muckross in Killarney maintained full accreditation for the third time, making them the MSPI’s most successful participant to date in terms of consistently upholding standards over a 17-year period. Meanwhile, the ceremony welcomed the Presentation Sisters of Nano Nagle Place in Cork city which becomes the first religious institution and museum to receive recognition under the programme.

Other award-winners include the Michael Davitt Museum in Mayo, as well as museums run by local authorities, national organisations, and small volunteer groups.

*(Full list of accredited museums is available below)

Factors taken into account during the assessment process include how museums care for their collections and visitors, as well as governance and management standards, and their education and exhibition programmes. Since its inception in 2006, the Irish museum sector has continued to embrace the programme with participation growing from 12 museum sites to 73 in 2023.

Muckross House, together with Muckross House Research Library and Muckross Traditional Farms, make up the three sites which today received ‘maintenance of full accreditation’ for the third time. By preserving and caring for its collections and buildings, these sites collectively provide a deeply authentic and valuable insight into traditions and life in Ireland and Kerry from a number of vantage points.

Research and Education Officer at Muckross House, and Council Member with the Heritage Council Patricia O’Hare said:

“Our sites have a long and proud history of working alongside the MSPI and were among the original museums to participate in the programme when it was initiated. It is very satisfying to see how much the programme has grown since then and how our own sites at Muckross have developed in tandem. The benefits of achieving and maintaining full accreditation by engaging in the programme have had a transformative effect on the quality of the collections and buildings we upkeep, as well as on the overall visitor experience across our three sites.”

Commenting on today’s ceremony, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council Virginia Teehan said:

“As Ireland’s only accreditation programme for museums, MSPI has become an integral part of the sector. Seeing the variety of museums represented at today’s ceremony, along with the increase in participants year on year, further underline its importance. I am happy to say that the Heritage Council has committed in its new five-year strategy to making further improvements to the MSPI through increased funding, and through new training and professional development opportunities for the volunteers and the professionals who run our museums.”

Presenting the awards today, Council Member for the Heritage Council, Sheila Pratschke said:

“It’s a real privilege for me to be in Kilkenny Castle today, another MSPI-accredited site, and to be able to personally congratulate all of this year’s award winners. I know how hard these museums have worked for their accreditation and are richly deserving of this recognition.”

Notes for editors

Press contacts

Please contact Pearse Ó Caoimh to arrange an interview.

T. 085-8590378 E. pocaoimh@heritagecouncil.ie

*The museums receiving accreditation today are:

Full accreditation

Carlow County Museum

Cork Public Museum

Maintenance of accreditation

Chester Beatty

Donegal County Museum

Drogheda Museum Millmount,

Michael Davitt Museum

Muckross House

Muckross House Research Library

Muckross Traditional Farms

The Glucksman, University College Cork

Tipperary Museum of Hidden History

Interim Accreditation

Glenveagh Castle, NPWS

Nano Nagle Place


The Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) was developed in full consultation with the sector, and in keeping with best international practice, the programme sets in place a professional framework serving to support the governance, management, care of collections, administration and delivery of services within the sector. The programme will strengthen the contribution that museums, galleries, and collecting agencies make to the preservation, protection, promotion and understanding of our national heritage and complements statutory provisions executed by the National Museum of Ireland

The accreditation process takes approximately 5 years. Participants usually submit applications for Interim Accreditation (25 standards) towards the end Year 3 in the Programme and applications for Full Accreditation (9 Full Standards and 25 Interim Standards) towards the end of Year 5. Some Participants are ready to submit an application for all standards after three years and can be allowed to skip the Interim Application stage.

Three years after receiving a Full Accreditation certificate Participants are required to submit an application to confirm Maintenance of Full Accreditation.

Participants are then required to submit a new application for Maintenance of Full Accreditation within five years of receiving a certificate to confirm Maintenance of Accreditation.

Read more about the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland