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Clare Museum maintains top national award from Heritage Council

27 July 2022

Thirteen museums were celebrated at a ceremony in Kilkenny Castle on Wednesday, 13th July, having achieved official accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI). Established to promote professional standards in museums, selection under the MSPI is a major accolade with accredited museums considered to have attained excellence across a range of areas.

Since its inception in 2006, the Irish museum sector has continued to embrace the programme with participation growing from 12 museum sites to 67 in 2022. Because no two museums are the same, the path to accreditation is different for all participants. Whereas museums with large collections may encounter challenges relating to storage and upkeep of large volumes of material, the volunteers in smaller museums may struggle to find the time or motivation to reach the MSPI standards.

Among the museums maintaining full accreditation was Clare Museum in Ennis. The museum assessors noted the museum’s continued work on adding to its collections. With the assistance of the Friends of the National Collections of Ireland, the museum purchased a drawing by the celebrated artist, Frederic William Burton, who spent his childhood at Clifden House, near Corofin.

The museum was at the forefront of putting its collection online and, through the work of volunteers, opened a new temporary exhibition in 2019 on the War of Independence, enhanced by a series of public lectures. The museum also launched its first public lecture series in 2019 which was hugely popular before being terminated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the refurbishment of the local tourist office which shares entry with the museum, a new display area for de Valera’s Dodge limousine has been created. The museum will have a new website before the end of the year.

Welcoming the news that Clare Museum has received the MSPI accreditation, Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said: “I wish to commend the staff of Clare Museum on achieving this accreditation and on maintaining a standard of excellence. Following the refurbishment to the museum building, the museum continues to expand its collection, further enhancing its offering as a visitor attraction in the heart of Ennis Town.”

Commenting on the ceremony, Chairperson of the Heritage Council, Martina Moloney, said: “The growing number of museums participating in the MSPI is testament to the regard in which it is held by the sector. It is wonderful to see representatives from so many different museums here today, all of whom have worked so hard to ensure the best possible standards are met; a commitment that has hugely positive benefits for cultural life in Ireland, for visitors to the museums and tourism in the country generally.”

Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, said: “It’s such a pleasure for me to welcome the award winners to this ceremony today to mark and celebrate the presentation of accreditation certificates under MSPI. This is the first live awards ceremony since 2019 after the online ceremonies held for 2020 and 2021’s award winners and so it is also only right that the certificate recipients from these years also be acknowledged today. These museums have worked very hard for their accreditation and richly deserve this recognition for their efforts.”


Clare Museum achieved official accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) at a ceremony in Kilkenny Castle on Wednesday, 13th July, 2022. Pictured (l-r) are: Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian; Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development, Clare County Council; John Rattigan, Curator, Clare Museum; Martina Moloney, Chair of the Heritage Council; Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council; and Dolores Meaney, Senior Executive Librarian, Clare County Council.

Page last reviewed: 27/07/22

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