About Us


The all-island network for the Irish museum community

We promote and support the museum sector through activities that highlight the value of our collections and the contribution of museums to our society as places of learning, conservation, research, and interpretation. 

Our ultimate goal is to inspire the people of Ireland to engage with the rich cultural collections that museums hold in trust: these are the record of our past, the touchpoint for our present, and our legacy for future generations.

We do this by developing and promoting museum practice, enabling an active community for the gathering and exchange of knowledge, identifying and reflecting areas of concern to society in our work, and advocating the valuable role of museums in providing a safe space where people can gather for difficult conversations.

These conversations use our heritage to contextualise society’s issues and open up discussions around these in a considerate and inclusive way: advocating core values that shun intolerance, divisiveness, and extremism.

Our programme of activities

Our programme of activities informs and supports our mission of contributing to the development of the museum sector and advocating the valuable role of museums.

Working in collaboration with our network members and partners, we deliver continued professional development events in the form of conferences, symposiums, training and forums. Our networking activities include public lectures and peer-to-peer museum visits promoting knowledge exchange. We additionally carry out research and publications, and provide a unified voice for the museum sector.

Through these activities, we aim to develop an open community that allows us to both celebrate and challenge museum practice. One of our core values is inclusivity: the recognition of the diversity of communities that are served by our museums and the role of museums in fostering a more sustainable future across the island of Ireland.

We provide a link across the different jurisdictions on the island, between grass-root, volunteer-led museums, and national cultural institutions, and across disciplines, to promote these values and develop a shared sense of appreciation and responsibility for our island’s heritage.

  • What is a museum?

    “A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.”

    The IMA subscribes to the ICOM (International Council of Museums) definition of museum, above definition adopted at the Extraordinary General Assembly of ICOM on 24 August 2022. 

The Irish Museum Landscape

The Irish Museum Survey 2016