Archive for the ‘Museums, Galleries, etc’ Category

Garda Museum and Archive

18 May 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

Last week I took a guided trip around the Garda Museum and Archive which resides in a two hundred year old Record Tower at Dublin Castle. The safe above is just one of the treasures which the museum holds. It is the safe from which the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen. The jewels were commissioned to be worn by the monarch when bestowing the Knighthood of St Patrick (the Irish equivalent of the Order of the Garter) on Irish figures. They were held in Dublin Castle and in 1903 a new strong room was built to protect.  The door in ths new strong room was too narrow, however, and the safe was too big to get in though the door. New precautions had to be taken by the Officer of Arms of Dublin Castle, Arthur Vicars to protect the jewels. The keys to the safe were held by Vicars and the safe itself was hidden behind 7 locked doors. The precautions were not enough and on 6 July 1907, just four days before a visit from Edward VII to Ireland, the jewels were discovered to have been stolen from the safe- notice the thief proof guarantee on the door!)

The museum is filled with treasures of this kind and nuggets about policing in the capital and the National Police Force at large. Some of the wonderful items on display include full nineteenth-century uniforms for senior and junior ranking police members, early photographs of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, caricatures and sketches of the force, handbooks provided to DMP officers, medals and honours and other police memorabilia. The record tower itself formerly held prisoners which adds a further eerie element to the museum. Read more

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature- one year on

4 May 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

  Last week Dublin City Council launched the festival programme for this the Dublin Writer’s Festival 2011. A quick look at the schedule shows that this year’s festival, which takes place 23-29 May, is bigger, brighter and more ambitious than ever before. The festival will include some of Ireland’s finest writer’s including Anne Enright, Dermot Healy, Roddy Doyle, Colm Tobin, John Boyne and Seamus Heaney (I could go on).  The International lineup is also excellent and includes Michal Palin, Paul Theoroux, Paul Harding (Pulitzer winner for Fiction 2010) and Czeslaw Milosz (a Nobel laureate)There will even be a link up with other UNESCO literary cities by a live link-up. The festival will be covered by Sky Arts.

So the festival is maturing and growing up. Quite naturally of course considering that Dublin became a UNESCO City of Literature nearly one year ago (26 July 2010).  This was greeted with great enthusiasm as it has the potential of show-casing further Ireland’s literary talent, encouraging the arts and of course it might bring in a few more tourists! So a year on how is the city faring with its new title? Well on the surface things look good. Read more

Grave robbing at Glasnevin

29 April 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

By now I am sure you will have heard that Glasnevin Cemetry won a THEA award (The Themed Entertainment Association) for their new museum. This prompted me to take a visit to check out the museum and I was very impressed. Here is a mock-up of a grave robber in action from the history of Glasnevin exhbit. By the nineteenth century some grave robbers had perfected their trade and instead of digging up the coffins in full they would dig a shaft at the head of the coffin, break the small panel allowing them entrance to the coffin, slip a noose around the neck of the corpse and drag the body out.

Playboys, Paycocks and Playbills

25 April 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

If you need any excuse to get out and visit the museum and gorgeous grounds at the Pearse Museum, St Enda’s Rathfarnham,  look no further then their current exhibition ‘Playboys, Paycocks and Playbills: Abbey Theatre poster design from the 1970s and 1980s’. The above image (and two below) are part of the exhibit normally housed at the National Print Museum. The exhibit explores in the main the work of two in-house poster designers for the Abbey, Kevin Scally and Brendan Foreman, who worked for the theatre 1974-79 and 1980-88 respectively. The exhibit adds an interesting dimension to the history of art, theatre and design in twentieth century Ireland.

The curator Brian Crowley says that ‘posters had not played a major role in the early years of the Abbey’  but there was a growing awareness in the 1970s of the importance of advertising and design to convey the spirit and ethos of individual productions. The posters are ‘one of the few tangible records of a production once its run had ended’ so they are unique ephemera and an important document for the history fo the theatre. The exhibit runs until 6 June so get there soon. See more

Tutankhamun- His Tomb and Treasures at the RDS

10 March 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

My brother invited me along to Tutankamun: His Tomb and Treasures at the RDS last weekend. Considering his wife was away and we were on a family day out, I have two nieces 3 and 7, I was well aware I was there as much for reinforcements as for my interest in history. It is always great to see what type of things kids reaction to in exhibits and trips though so I was delighted to go along. I was a bit unsure about how I would find this exhibition. The artefacts on display are models of the original. You are paying for the story of Tutankhamun and the discovery of his treasures rather then a chance to see the real thing.  Because of this they exhibitors really had to set the tone well and tell the story of the tomb well.

One of the things that struck me in the long queue outside the exhibit was that there was such a broad range of ages, and groups in the queue. Read more

The Big Academic Job Hunt

1 March 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

The academic job season is about to begin- broadly speaking March to August this is the period when most academic institutions begin to advertise the much coveted vacancies they hold for the following academic term. This stressful period is bound to send you running to a computer to look up a job that you heard about through a second-hand comment only to realise that you have 24 hours to complete the job application or that you have in fact missed the deadline. Job hunting is a stressful task and it doesn’t need to be said that in the current climate it is doubly so.

Unfortunately it’s often difficult to take the first step for job hunting. You want to make sure you are looking for jobs in the right place and that you have as much information about job vacancies as possible. When I was writing up my thesis a friend provided me with a couple of job email alerts that were very useful.  Over the last couple of years my list of academic/cultural and heritage job sites has grown. I have put together a list of the sites that I have used in thepast most of them include an email update with new jobs and information, which should make the job hunting task a little easier. Most of the sites below are interdisciplinary but will have specific search categories and listings for humanities or history. Read more

The Story of the King James Bible

21 February 2011

By Christina Morin

While in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago, I took the opportunity to visit the exhibition I mentioned in this month’s recommendations: ‘Great and Manifold Blessings: The Making of the King James Bible’. Just before going, I happened upon Diarmaid MacCulloch’s review piece, ‘How good is it?’ in the London Review of Books (3 February 2011). In it, MacCulloch states, ‘The story of the KJB and its influence has often been told, and we will hear it repeated to distraction in this quartercentenary year. If one wonders whether it’s worth telling again, well, like the KJB itself, it sells, and good luck to publishers who turn an honest penny by it’. If ever you’ve booked yourself into a hotel and had a rummage through the bedside table drawers, you’ve probably found yourself a KJB. I have a copy or two of the KJB myself, as I imagine lots of Irish households do, and though its language can be excessively formal, flowery, and archaic, especially in an atmosphere in which there is an ever-increasing number of translations that target twenty-first century readers with twenty-first century language (here I’m thinking specifically of The Message), the KJB remains a bestseller today, four hundred years after it was first produced.

Part of the KJB’s continued attraction is the transformation it effected in seventeenth-century English social, religious, and cultural life as well as the ongoing effect it arguably still has on many facets of twenty-first century life. In an article published in The Guardian last November, Robert McCrum calls the KJB ‘a number one bestseller of unprecedented literary significance’ that has fundamentally ‘shaped our imaginative landscape’. With stronger language still, McCrum claims, ‘As well as selling an estimated 1bn copies since 1611, the KJB went straight into our literary bloodstream like a lifesaving drug’. He further notes that many well-used words – ‘scapegoat’ and ‘long-suffering’, for instance – as well as favourite idiomatic sayings – ‘fighting the good fight’, for example, or ‘see the writing on the wall’ – come directly from the KJB. Read more

Counting the Costs

18 February 2011

By Christina Morin

It was with a great sense of eagerness and anticipation that I headed off for Cambridge last Monday for a full week of uninterrupted research. My reading list in hand, I arrived at Cambridge University Library bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, nothing daunted by the airline’s loss of my luggage or the taxi-driver’s surly insistence that the long way around was the only way to go at that hour, or even the resulting exorbitant taxi fare. I’ll admit my enthusiasm was slightly dampened by the consternation with which my request for a certain printed catalogue was met. And, my fervour received a further, harsher blow when I was sent away with the words, “leave it to me”. Luckily, said catalogue had been located by the next morning, and I settled to work with a sigh of relief.

Halfway though the first triple-decker Gothic novel I’d requested, all contentment and delight had vanished in the face of rising panic. If it was taking me this long to read one novel, how was I ever going to read all of the titles on my list? What had seemed like an ambitious but viable goal in the rosy glow of enthusiastic academic zeal now appeared horribly naïve in the cold glare projected by the microfiche reader. By Wednesday, I was resigned to my fate: a future research trip, or several, to complete my reading. How exactly to afford those projected research trips, however, began to prey on my mind. Accordingly, when I got back to Ireland, I began to search for possible funding opportunities with which to make these trips. Read more

Freedom in Fremantle

11 February 2011

Contributed by Joanne McEntee

In 1829 a new settlement was devised by the British in Western Australia. Under the governorship of Captain James Stirling, the Swan River Colony was established as a ‘free’ colony – unlike the penal settlements of New South Wales, Norfolk Island, and Port Arthur. Two main sites of settlement developed within the colony: the state’s capital Perth and the port city of Fremantle. Due to adverse climatic conditions and inhospitable lands the population of the area remained low. In order to rectify this and to assist with the development of the region a petition was sent to the British Government requesting that convicts be sent in order to provide much needed cheap labour. The first ship carrying convicts arrived at Fremantle on 1 June 1850. Over an eighteen year period over 9,700 convicts were transported to Western Australia. The last ship – the Hougoumont – arrived 9 January 1868 carrying 280 convicts. In 1991 after 136 years of incarceration and punishment Fremantle Prison was officially closed. A year later the prison began its development as one of the State’s major historic heritage sites. In July 2010 Australian Convict Sites were included in a list of seven cultural sites newly inscribed on the World Heritage List.

For tourists, Fremantle Prison offers a wide ranging and varying experience. Read More

Something for the week

25 January 2011

By Juliana Adelman

The hated January is finally coming to a close.  The days are getting longer.  We can almost smell spring.  My bulbs even came up in the thaw.  January seemed an endless parade of budgets, resignations, reshuffles, press conferences, political waffle and whinge.  We will not miss it.  Nonetheless, there are a few things you might not want to miss in this last week of darkness.  These are Dublin events, please feel free to add good things happening elsewhere in the comments.

IFI Archive at Lunchtime

Last year the IFI started a new effort to bring their archive to the public through free screenings at lunchtime.  Currently celebrating its one-year anniversary, the programme is continuing this year.  January’s theme is islands and you have seven days to catch the films before February brings new choices.  Today at lunchtime (13:10) there is a documentary about Achill Island.  For tickets (free, but advanced booking available) see the IFI website.

National Gallery of Ireland

‘Colour & Light: caring for Turner’s watercolours’ ends on the 31st of January.  From what I managed to see of it with one eye on a destructive 3-year-old it is worth a visit.

Natural History Museum

‘Herds, regiments and troops’ is a guided tour with a history of the museum’s trophy heads, conducted by Catherine McGuinness from 12 to 1230pm on Saturday, the 29th of January.  I’m hoping to join it, depending again on the cooperation of a certain small companion.

Lighthouse Cinema

Breakfast at Tiffany’s has been reissued for the 50th anniversary.  You can see it on the 26th, 30th or 1st.  Book tickets here.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art

‘The Moderns’, is on display until 13 February showcasing Irish modern art c 1900 to 1970s.  In conjunction with exhibition is a lecture by Brian Dillon linking writers and artists in Irish modernism on the 27th at 4pm, book here.

That should keep you busy!