The National Treasures project, broadcast in a four-part television series on RTÉ One has culminated in an exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo, running until 31 August 2018.
National Treasures, a campaign to crowd-source everyday objects that explore the history of the island of Ireland over the past 100 years, was developed in association with RTÉ, the National Museum of Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The National Treasures project sought to create a digital archive of historical objects, forming a unique crowd-sourced tapestry of modern Irish history, one that emphasises the voices of ordinary Irish people.
With evocative objects gathered over four days in Cork, Belfast, Galway and Dublin, as well as by roving historians in rural areas, curators Donal Fallon, Roisín Higgins, Richard McElligott, Linda King, Ruth Griffin and Michael Fortune selected the objects crowd-sourced from members of the public to tell Ireland's recent social history and developed this exhibition that opened 24 April at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar.
The 70 or so objects selected by the curators for inclusion in the final exhibition reflect various chapters, themes and moments from Ireland's social history over the last century.
Speaking ahead of the opening, Mr Tony Candon, Manager/Keeper of the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, said: "We are delighted to host National Treasures - the Exhibition. This project has been very close to our hearts over the last two years because the Museum of Country Life is all about telling the stories of the ordinary people of rural Ireland through their objects between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. National Treasures - the Exhibition is a natural extension of that because it enables people from all over Ireland, north and south, to tell their stories from the last 100 years through their own fascinating objects. We are really looking forward to sharing this exhibition and the stories represented here."
Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Mr Raghnall Ó Floinn, stated: "I am delighted that the National Museum of Ireland has been able to partner with RTÉ and the BAI to develop the National Treasures project and this exhibition. The Museum is committed to reaching out to all of the people of Ireland and telling Ireland's stories through objects and National Treasures does just this."
Ms Sarah Ryder, Executive Producer, Arts, RTÉ Television, also welcomed the exhibition opening: "RTÉ is delighted to partner with the National Museum of Ireland and the BAI on this island-wide peoples' history project. The people of Ireland, North and South, really embraced the spirit of the project, bringing to the roadshows in Munster, Ulster, Leinster and Connaught treasured ordinary objects which, when exhibited together, will paint a unique, people-centric and very nuanced portrait of the emergence of modern Ireland. Seeing all the National Treasures objects together at the National Museum of Ireland in Castlebar is going to be a really exciting moment for us all - and we hope people will travel from far and wide to enjoy this very special moment in our national story."
Click here for further information on this exhibition on the NMI website.