2017 Annual Conference - Cultural Tourism and the Contemporary Museum

Friday 03 March - Saturday 04 March 2017

The 2017 IMA Annual Conference, 'Cultural Tourism and the Contemporary Museum' took place in Galway (Town Hall Theatre) on 3 and 4 March 2017, in association with Galway City Museum.

The IMA's annual conference is the main conference of the year in the Irish museum world. A themed conference, it is held each spring and offers an opportunity for members of the museum community to meet, network and discuss issues of relevance. It provides a platform for exchange of knowledge and aims to disseminate good practice in museums.


A themed conference, the 2017 conference - under the title Cultural Tourism and the Contemporary Museum - invited members and professionals working in (and with) museums and other cultural institutions to examine and debate the principles for successful and sustainable cultural heritage tourism and the museums' role in its development. How museums can attract visitors while at the same time preserving the authenticity that makes them unique and attractive in the first place?

Cultural heritage tourism is one of the key drivers within the tourism industry and is a powerful economic development tool. With a large percentage of visitors to Ireland participating in cultural activities through visits to museums, the importance of our collection-based institutions in attracting both national and international tourists is beyond doubt.

Many museums find they must prioritise tourist visitors and prove their worth to the local and national economy in order to secure public funding and other revenue streams in an increasingly challenging financial climate. As a result, they need to gain a better understanding of tourist behaviour and be able to produce meaningful data which reflects their contribution to the cultural tourism sector. Developing their potential to attract tourists has become a key factor for many museums when it comes to the creation of effective and sustainable development strategies. Despite the greater focus on issues such as self-generated revenues and marketing opportunities, museums must also continue to meet their core responsibilities in relation to caring, preserving and exhibiting their collections and fulfilling their educational mandate.


The IMA invited and selected speakers from the museum, cultural heritage and tourism sectors to respond to the above brief, including:

• Chris BAILEY, Northern Ireland Museums Council
• John CONCANNON, Director, Creative Ireland
• Michael DAY, Chief Executive, Historic Royal Palaces
• Emily MARK-FITZGERALD, Lecturer, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin
• Lee JOLLIFFE, Professor, Hospitality and Tourism, University of New Brunswick, Canada
• Claudia KOHLER, Education, Community & Outreach Officer, Kerry County Museum
• Paddy MATHEWS, Head of Investment & Innovation, Fáilte Ireland.
• Dr Bridget MCCONNELL CBE, Chief Executive, Glasgow Life
• Eamonn MCENEANEY, Director, Waterford Museum of Treasures - three museums in the Viking Triangle
• Simon O'CONNOR, Curator, Little Museum of Dublin
• Fiona ROSS, Director, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
• Aoife RUANE, Director, Highlanes Gallery
• Frank SHALVEY, Principal Officer, National Monuments, Office of Public Works
• Kathryn THOMSON, Chief Executive, National Museums Northern Ireland
• Eithne VERLING, Director, Galway City Museum

For further information, please contact:

Gina O'Kelly | Irish Museums Association
Email: office@irishmuseums.org