MSPI Awards, Heritage Council of Ireland (Museum news)

Posted: Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Nine museums have received interim and full accreditation by the Heritage Council of Ireland, bringing the total number of museums participating in the National Standards Programme to sixty-four.

The rigorous assessment process, carried out by national and international experts, requires museums to meet each of 34 internationally recognised MSPI standards ensuring the highest standards in visitor services, collections care and governance. Of the eight museums awarded Full Accreditation, four - The Butler Gallery; Chester Beatty Library; Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum and Monaghan County Museum - retained Full Accreditation that had been previously won, while four others - The Heritage Centre, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland; Clare Museum; Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, Baile an Fheirtéaraig and Seanchaí - Kerry Writers' Museum - achieved Full Accreditation for the first time. Thomas MacDonagh Museum in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary was awarded Interim Accreditation.

Speaking at the awards ceremony today, the Chairman of the Heritage Council, Mr Michael Parsons, said:

‘What we see through this programme is that Ireland's museums are exciting and vibrant places where the staff are working hard, often with very limited budgets and resources, to ensure that the collections in their care are protected and made available to the public. Not only is this important work from a cultural point of view, it also supports tourism in a locality and helps people feel proud of the place where they live.'

The Museum Standards Programme for Ireland was launched in 2007 and celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2017. To be eligible to join the Programme applicants must demonstrate that they meet the definition of a museum, which includes owning and displaying original collections for the public benefit, holding collections in trust, and being not-for-profit. In 2018, 36 sites are accredited at Full Accreditation, 6 sites at Interim Accreditation. Being a participant is a public promise by each museum to care for the heritage of its community. Achieving accreditation in MSPI demonstrates that a museum is meeting its promise. There are thirty-four standards covering collections care, governance and management, and visitor services. It takes five years on average to achieve all the standards. Participating museums are assessed by a panel of national and international experts.

The Programme is overseen by an Advisory Group, which includes representatives from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the National Museum of Ireland, the Irish Museums Association, the Arts Council, the Northern Ireland Museums Council, experts in museum education and an overseas representative. The Heritage Council is the awarding body.

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