Irish Museums recognised for excellence and professionalism

8 Museums have been awarded full accreditation under the Heritage Council's Museum Standards Programme for Ireland at a ceremony in Kilkenny Castle.

A museum dedicated to five of County Kerry’s most notable writers has today (10.7.18) achieved the highest standard possible under a museum national standards programme run by the Heritage Council. Located in a 19th-century Georgian residence in the heart of Listowel, An Seanchaí - Kerry Writers’ Museum offers its visitors an audio-visual journey though the literary lives of John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Brendan Kennelly and Maurice Walsh.  Run by a small but dedicated staff, the museum offers privileged access to an important literary collection as well as an impressive array of interpretative and cultural events throughout the year. 

Established by the Heritage Council in 2006 to benchmark and promote professional standards in the care of collections, the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) has attracted involvement across the cultural spectrum, from national institutions to small, volunteer-led organisations. Representative of the new dynamism and activity of the museum sector in 2018, An Seanchaí - Kerry Writers’ Museum is one of 64 museums and galleries to benefit from participation in the MSPI to date. While recognising the achievement of standards through accreditation, the MSPI is also about supporting the museum community as a whole. Its participants engage in a range of processes, which help to secure Ireland’s collections for future generations and to engage its visitors with what those collections have to offer. 

Former Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan attended the MSPI awards ceremony in Kilkenny castle today as a special guest of the Kerry Writers’ Museum. It was one of nine Irish museums recognised for excellence and professionalism, and one of eight to be awarded the top standard of Full Accreditation. The rigorous assessment process requires museums to meet each of 34 internationally recognised MSPI standards ensuring the highest standards in visitor services, collections care and governance. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony today, the Chairman of the Heritage Council, Mr Michael Parsons, said: 

 ‘What we see through this programme is that Ireland’s museums are exciting and vibrant places where the staff are working hard, often with very limited budgets and resources, to ensure that the collections in their care are protected and made available to the public. Not only is this important work from a cultural point of view, it also supports tourism in a locality and helps people feel proud of the place where they live.’

 Today’s accreditations followed an extensive assessment programme carried out by national and international experts. Of the eight museums awarded Full Accreditation, four – The Butler Gallery; Chester Beatty Library; Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum and Monaghan County Museum – retained Full Accreditation that had been previously won, while four others – The Heritage Centre, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland; Clare Museum; Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, Baile an Fheirtéaraig and Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum – achieved Full Accreditation for the first time. Thomas MacDonagh Museum in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary was awarded Interim Accreditation. 

Download the full press release