Visitors to Ireland may enjoy a new exhibition that tells various chapters, themes and moments from Ireland’s social history through objects gathered from the public. Following on from a recently-broadcast TV series, National Treasures – the Exhibition has opened at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Castlebar, and it includes approximately 70 objects gathered through the series and selected by the curators for inclusion in the exhibition.
The exhibition arises out of National Treasures, a four-part television series by the Irish state broadcaster, RTÉ. In the series, presenter John Creedon and a team of curators travelled around the country, assessing a fascinating mix of objects put forward by the public as potential ‘national treasures.’
“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-19th and mid-20th Centuries,” says Tony Candon, the museum’s manager.
The project inspired thousands of people to dig out, dust off and submit their treasured objects, either online or at the public roadshows held across the country. Exhibition objects include a programme from the historic Munster victory over the All Blacks in 1978, an early breast pump, a plastic bullet from Northern Ireland, and mementoes of the marriage equality campaign in 2015.
According to RTÉ producer, Sarah Ryder, the people of Ireland really embraced the spirit of the project, and their ordinary objects, when exhibited together, paint a unique, people-centric and very nuanced portrait of the emergence of modern Ireland.