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Martin Cullen, TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism at the official launch of Museums Matter, an exhibition accessing Ireland's Heritage at the National Library with Dr Marie Bourke, Chair of the Irish Museums Association. Also pictured are two models wearing Norman chain-mail headgear. Exhibition runs until June 8th 2008.

Martin Cullen, TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism to launch Irish Museums Association new touring exhibition ACCESSING IRELAND'S HERITAGE

Minister Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, will launch Museums Matter: Accessing Ireland's Heritage, jointly funded by The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, at the National Library on 28 May at 6.00pm.

The National Library of Ireland is the first venue to host Museums Matter: Accessing Ireland's Heritage, a cross-border collaborative exhibition initiated by the Irish Museums Association (IMA). Highlighting the richness and diversity of museum collections across the island of Ireland, the exhibition demonstrates the wealth of enjoyment and inspiration that museums have to offer to people of all ages. The exhibition will run from 26 May-6 June at the National Library, followed by the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, from 11 June-8 July 2008.

Dr Marie Bourke, Chair of the IMA, states: 'Many people in the north and south of Ireland enjoyed visiting museums as schoolchildren. Perhaps they saw the Tara Brooch and Ardagh Chalice at the National Museum or paintings by Vermeer and Jack Yeats at the National Gallery, or participated in living history projects at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. At the IMA, we felt that we could present a glimpse of the wonderful treasures in our collections, providing colourful images of the objects we look after, and let people know better what we do and what we can offer them.'

Images from collections across Ireland - including folk life, archaeology, costume, natural history, transport, marine life, science and technology, fine art and the decorative arts - show the potential for museums to create opportunities for learning and engagement with the communities they serve. This exhibition will tour to libraries, museums and arts centres in Ireland over the next four years. In keeping with the theme of the project, local venues will add their own precious objects to the display, just as a programme of activities will open up the collections to a much wider audience.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated booklet filled with images illustrating what museums do, their training and volunteering programmes, the richness of their collections and the buildings in which they are housed. Information on the exhibition and associated activities is available on the IMA website www.irishmuseums.org.

The exhibition is funded by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, and Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Irish Museums Association, and Museums Council of Northern Ireland.

Notes to Editors
  1. The Irish Museums Association is a voluntary body founded in 1977. It is dedicated to promoting the interests of museums and the museum community (those who work in and are interested in museums) throughout Ireland, north and south. It aims to service the needs of the Irish museums community, by supporting the work of everyone involved with museums in recording, protecting, conserving and promoting Ireland's heritage.
  2. From 26 May - 8 June, the exhibition will be at the National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin.
  3. From 11 June - 8 July, it will be at the Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegal Square North, Belfast.
  4. The first phase of the 4-year Exhibition Touring Programme comprises:
2008 Venue County
Mayá National Library of Ireland Co. Dublin
June-Julyá Linen Hall Library, Belfast Co. Antrim
July-August Ulster American Folk Park Co. Tyrone
Sept-October Lisburn Library Co. Antrim
November Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast Co. Antrim
Dec-January Carnegie Library Bangor Co. Down
Feb-Mid/March Tower Museum Co. Derryá
Mid/March-Mid/April University of Ulster Riverside Theatre Co. Derry
Mid/April-May Fermanagh County Museum Co. Fermanagh
June-Mid/July Donegal County Museum Co. Donegal
Mid/July-August Galway City Museum Co. Galway
Mid/Sept-November Ballymena Museumá Co. Antrim
Dec-Januaryááá Bagenal's Castle, Newry Co. Down
Feb-April Museum of Country Lifeá Co. Mayo
May-June Dundalk County Museum Co. Louth
July-Augustá ┴ras an Chontae, Tullamore Co. Offaly

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated book, activity sheets (that can be downloaded from the IMA website), a/v presentation, handling collections, and a schedule of talks and workshops.

For information on the exhibition, contact Niamh NicGhabhann Tel + 353 1 6633579; Email ima@ngi.ie; Website www.irishmuseums.org.
Or Mary FitzGerald, PR Consultant-IMA Tel + 353 1 6694759, Mobile: 086-2520181,E-mail: info@maryfitzgeraldpr.ie

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