Since opening in 1945, Cork Public Museum has actively collected, exhibited and cared for a wide range of objects related to Cork’s diverse historical heritage. The present collection is made up of about 40,000 objects covering a variety of subjects from archaeology and natural sciences, to the political, cultural and social history of Cork city and county.
Archaeology has always been an integral part of the collecting ethos of CPM. The museum’s first curator, M. J. O’Kelly (1945-63), was also Professor of Archaeology at UCC during his tenure at CPM. The museum continues to exhibit the material from the many excavations carried out by O’Kelly and his colleagues throughout Cork and Munster. Indeed, artefactual assemblages from excavations carried out since 1945 form the largest portion of their archaeological collections. It is estimated that the museum currently holds 25 – 30,000 archaeological objects.