Museum Ireland 2020

17 Sep 2021

The Irish Museums Association is delighted to launch the annual journal, Museum Ireland Vol. 27, today for Culture Night.

An important record of the Irish museum landscape in 2020, it lends insight into this extraordinary and eventful year and its impact on museums.

Articles reflect the before and after of the first stages of the pandemic reaching Irish shores: the place of our museums in the public arena, cultural democracy, human rights values and social justice in the museum, the impact of Brexit, how museums contribute to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.... through case-studies and thought pieces, the 2020 journal is essential reading for those keen to learn more about contemporary museum practice.

In launching the journal, the editor of Museum Ireland 2020, Dr Briony Widdis, paid tribute to the resilience of the museums sector.

This has been an extraordinary year for museums in which social inequalities and injustice, the climate crisis, decolonisation, Brexit and professional ethics and standards have become critical concerns. During COVID-19, museums have re-examined their practices, embedded their research, found new ways of collaborating with communities, and reinvigorated their partnerships; and they have delivered digitally at a more rapid pace than ever before. Museum Ireland 2020 marks the sector's resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges. Working with its authors has been a delight; and this year's journal makes essential and thought-provoking reading for all in the sector and well beyond. Dr Briony Widdis

This acknowledgment of the work of museums throughout 2020 and 2021 in continuing to research, facilitate learning, entertain, connect us and transform was echoed by the IMA's Chair, Audrey Whitty and senior executive, Gina O'Kelly. 

Little did we know at our last annual conference, late February 2020, what was ahead of us. That the theme posed to our speakers, Transforming Museums, would be happening with an urgency and a pace far faster than anticipated. It is testament to how forward-thinking our museums are, that these discussions are equally relevant today, after all that has transpired. By providing this journal openly accessible, we wish to give insight and invite response to the conversations we have been having - and continue to have - within the museum sector. Gina O'Kelly, Irish Museums Association

Articles have been contributed by Virginia Teehan, William Blair; George Sevastopolu & Michael Ryan; Fernando Sánchez-Migallón Cano; Stephanie Harper; Catherine McCullough; Henry McGhie; Liam Bradley, Eithne Verling, Savina Donohoe & Marie McMahon; Nigel T. Monaghan; Evi Numen; J. Patrick Greene; Simon O’Connor; Kate Drinane, Judith Finlay & Brian Crowley; Lisa Moran; Dea Birkett; Rebecca O’Neill; Fiona Bell; and Gina O'Kelly.

Showcasing the resilience of the museum sector, Museum Ireland also includes reviews of new museums and exhibitions taking place during 2020, and books of interest to the museum community by Danielle O’Donovan, Margarita Cappock, Dougal McKenzie, Hannah Crowdy, Darragh Gannon, David Haughey, Griffin Murray, Róisín Kennedy, Emma J. McAlister, Hugh Maguire, and Catherine Marshall.

Museum Ireland Vol. 27, 2020