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For Oral Answer on : 05/10/2021
Question Number(s): 14 Question Reference(s): 47851/21
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the plans of her Department to showcase objects from the national collections in rural communities; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The National Cultural Institutions (NCIs) play a critical role as custodians of Ireland’s history and culture.
Their collections comprise the most precious objects in the nation’s possession and my Department recognises the importance of sharing these treasures throughout the country.
To that end, my Department’s Mobility of Collections Scheme provides greater regional access to the National Collections. The purpose of this scheme is to assist in putting items from the National Collections on display to the public on a greater and wider basis. In particular the scheme facilitates the display of pieces and exhibitions from the National Collections with specific local and regional interest direct to those communities. 
The Scheme is designed to fund the transport, cost of insurance and exhibiting costs for pieces from the National Collections to appropriate institutions around the country.

Some recent examples of activities supported by the scheme include:   

  • Waterford Museum of Treasures in the Viking Triangle took loan of an eight-branch chandelier dating to 1790 and originally made in Waterford. The loan was facilitated by the National Museum of Ireland. 
  • Múseam Chorca Dhuibhne has borrowed from the National Museum of Ireland and will be displaying a gold medieval ring brooch which was originally found locally near Dingle in 2015 
  • The Hunt Museum held a substantial exhibition of 32 works borrowed from the Crawford Art Gallery’s Great Southern Art Collection. The exhibition ran from June to September and was called Signals of Change 20th Century Irish Arts Great Southern Collection.   

In addition to this scheme the National Cultural Institutions are committed to increasing access to the national collections through online exhibitions and by lending objects to local exhibitions.  While the NCIs under the aegis of my Department are independent in their management of day-to-day matters, the loaning and dissemination of items from the National Collection under their care is actively encouraged.

During the pandemic, the NCIs demonstrated great innovation by sharing the national collections online. For example the IMMA Online programme has made thousands of artworks available to audiences around the country through the digitisation of its collection. With “Talking Art Online”, the museum hosts regular talks on the collection with community groups. These are offered to Broadband Connection points in rural areas through the Department of Rural and Community Affairs and IMMA has delivered 7 sessions to date from Achill Island to Carlow.  

My Department will continue to encourage and provide support for the showcasing of objects from the national collections in rural communities.