Newsletter June 2019

Museum Committee Report By Padraic O’Brolchain

Work in the Museum continues as usual. The most important issue is our march or, should I say, slow walk towards accreditation. The team working on this have done a vast amount of work and some of the results will begin to appear gradually, in the way we do things.

A special effort was necessary last October and the quality of the display was a very positive feature of the RMS Leinster commemorations. As recently as February we were presented with yet another item recovered from the wreck, which we plan to have on display soon to enhance that part of the exhibition.
Down in the basement, a fantastic job has been done in fireproofing the crypt. As a result, it will be cleaner, hopefully a little drier and a better place to store our hidden treasures. There is still a great deal of work for us to relocate, catalogue and inspect every item, and to update our database.

On the exhibition floors we have also been active but so far there is little to show. Improving our lighting is a never ending task. At a recent meeting, it was agreed that the Royal Yacht Mary needs to have a major role. This is not only a beautiful model but is part of an important moment in Irish history. The Mary arrived in Carrickfergus in June 1690, with King William of Orange on board on his first visit to Ireland.

The strength of our museum is in the quality of our artefacts and the stories we tell around them, and it was agreed that this story equals many of the stories that we are presenting.

At the time of writing, The Mary can be seen in the Café area. Once we have agreed a location, it will be moved to a new home and a special display case is planned for it. Upgrading other important stories, most notably the Kerlogue and the Tayleur, is also part of our plan.

A small but very important improvement has been made with the installation off a new case for the Wigham filing cabinet on the altar. This is long overdue; many of the labels have come unstuck and, regrettably, a few have disappeared but, hopefully, this historic piece is now well protected. The labels, from places like Napier, Bombay, Cayman Islands and even Portnablagh, give an idea of the far reaching business interests of this Dublin company.

Another new feature, which appeared last Autumn, is the arrival of two new touchscreen displays. These were introduced by the Library Committee. At the moment, both of these screens are dedicated to the RMS Leinster database and proved to be of immense interest to the large number of descendants who visited us during the commemorations.

These screens have recently been augmented by a third. It is presently being discussed as to what topics should best be presented on the two extra screens and where the screens should best be located. Ideas from members are welcome. Some of the suggestions include; “Irish Shipping Companies” (it should be remembered that P&O was originally founded by Irish money – we once had a significant presence in the shipping world), “Lighthouses of Ireland” – trading on the success of the recent TV series – and “Ireland’s Shipwrecks”, of which we have many. These are the first on our list.