Appointments to the Board of the Irish Museums Association (Museum news)

Posted: Thursday, 09 March 2017

The Irish Museums Association would like to announce the appointment of Dr Riann Coulter, Lesley-Ann Hayden and Marie McMahon to the board of directors of the Association, following the direct election by IMA members at the Annual General Meeting held on the 3 March at Galway City Museum.

The IMA Board and staff would like to congratulate and welcome the new members of the board of directors and look forward to working closely with them over the coming years.


Dr Riann Coulter has over 16 years' experience as a curator and art historian and has held curatorial and research positions at IMMA, the National Gallery of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Banbridge, Co. Down, where she is currently curator and manager.

Since joining the F.E. McWilliam in 2009, Riann has established the Gallery as one of the most successful visual arts venues in Ireland and has established partnerships with regional and national cultural institutions including Highlanes Gallery Drogheda, IMMA, the RHA, National Museums Northern Ireland, West Cork Arts Centre and The Butler Gallery Kilkenny.

She has served on the Strategic Committee of the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, and is currently a Board member of the Northern Ireland Museums Council where she represents the Northern Ireland Regional Curators Group.

"I believe that my extensive experience as a curator, art historian and arts manager in both regional and national institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland would be relevant to the work of the IMA Board. My experience working within a local government context at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery is also relevant particularly due to the ongoing threats and opportunities that Local Government Reform brings to the Museum sector in Northern Ireland.

My experience as a Board Member of the Northern Ireland Museums Council since 2012 and as Chairman of the NIMC Grant Committee since 2016 would be beneficial and my connection with the Centre Culturel Irlandais would also be a useful international perspective. My experience of initiating and touring exhibitions in a cross-border context as well as my successes gaining funding for exhibtiions and research from sources in both Ireland and the UK is also relevant."


Lesley-Ann Hayden has been engaged as a consultant by the Heritage Council since 2005 to coordinate and promote the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI). The Programme has grown from 12 to 58 Participant of which 28 have achieved Full Accreditation and 12 Interim Accreditation. She organises 6 - 8 training workshops each year. .

Lesley-Ann holds a BA (Mod) Hons, Italian and History of Art from Trinity College Dublin and a Diploma in Arts Administration through AnCo/Irish Museums Trust. A former HR Generalist, specialising in policy management, recruitment and employment law, for TheMIGroup, an international relocation company based in Ontario, Canada, (1989-2003); after undertaking the Marks and Spencer Canada management training course she was retail manager and training coordinator for a number of stores in Toronto (1989-1997). She has also been engaged as administrator of a small Irish charity, The Irish Centre for European Law, based in TCD (2004 - 2005). She has formerly worked as a Guide for Avondale House (1987) and was a Docent at Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (1997-2003).

"As MSPI Coordinator I have spent the last twelve years providing a service to the Heritage Council and Participants (58) and facilitating the development and growth of professional standards and a supportive network to the Irish Museum Sector. Working relationships include volunteer, private, Local Authority museums and National Cultural Institutions. I work closely with senior museum professionals in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK through the Programme's Advisory Group and Assessor Panel.

I brought extensive external HR, Training, Customer Service and Retail management experience to this role and have a good overview of sectoral issues across a wide range or organisation types in the UK and Ireland. I am also a member of the UK's Museums Association, ICOM and an IMMA Friend. I bring wide-ranging and enthusiastic experience of working with the sector and working in the private sector. I'm a good team player. The Heritage Council has approved my application."


Marie McMahon is professional curator and manager of Tipperary County Councils Museum Service, with over 14 year's diverse experience. She energetically manages the day-to-day running of the museum while maintaining MSPI accreditation. Marie devises a range of programmes such as ‘Engaging with Traveller Communities', 1916 -‘Road to the Rising' and Sensory Room, Collections based projects, and annually coordinates a Medieval Festival for Clonmel. She is a Designated Curator, appointed by the Director of National Museum of Ireland, and has actively worked with the Local Authority Museums Network launching its SMP 2016 - 2020 & 1916 Artefacts Trail.

An active initiative is the redesign of Tipperary County Museum, as part of the development of a significant tourism product for Tipperary.

Marie has a degree in Fashion Design and Art History, Certificates in Tourism Business Practice, Facilitation and Developmental Community Arts; and was employed as an ETB Design Tutor before joining the Craft Granary and Design Studio as Manager.

"My curatorial motivation is to cultivate an energetic learning environment with a socially inclusive focus through imaginative and diverse programming. I do this by utilising our rich and eclectic collection to its full potential; engaging with museum curators, art professionals and the local community to create the feeling of a bespoke experience for our visitors.

Quality is my first principle, reflected in my intent to actively seek inspiring and engaging projects which the Museum can then spearhead and use as a model of best practice; I have initiated and developed many projects and significant loans and I have gained valuable skills in areas such as business, finance, procurement, public relations and marketing as well as in strategic planning, policy making and HR.

These qualities along with my enthusiasm for education and quality programming have led me to engage proactively within Ireland's Museum Services such as IMA, LAMN, NMI, MSPI and IMMA."