National Heritage Week at the National Museum

20 free public events at the National Museum’s 4 sites in Dublin and Mayo

National Heritage Week is a nine-day celebration of Ireland’s natural, built and cultural heritage and runs from Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th of August. This year’s theme is ‘Sharing Stories’ which is an ideal theme for the National Museum where there is at least one story behind every object.

As part of this year’s programme, the National Museum of Ireland will host twenty free public events which will take place across the Museum’s four sites in Dublin and Mayo. The Museum’s programme of events will share stories from its vast collections, told by a wide range of people, including artists, storytellers, travellers, design historians, zoologists, archaeologists and a falconer.

In Dublin, the Museum welcomes Ellen Hagen from the Museum of Archaeology at the University of Stavanger, Norway, who will explore in a unique workshop the history and technique of ‘Nålbindning’, or needle binding, an ancient technique used by the Vikings in the fabrication of their clothes. This event will take place in the Museum’s Archaeology branch on Kildare Street. Ellen is also a falconer in her native Norway and will share the story of the relationship between falcons and the Vikings at the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History on Merrion Street. Ellen explains, “I am very much looking forward to taking part in Heritage Week in Ireland, to share insights on two cultural heritages that have been around for a long time, needle binding and falconry. These old traditions of textile making and hunting would have been practiced at the same time in both Ireland and in Norway, two countries that have a strong connection through the heritage of the Viking Age.”

The Museum also welcomes Ghanaian storyteller Adekunle Gomez from the African Cultural Project and Africa Institute in Ireland. At the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History you will hear Adekunle tell stories about the tails of a monkey, elephant and sea turtle. There will also be a free family hands-on event about the explorer Leopold McClintock, the Arctic Fox, and about the tiger given by an English King to the Museum.

At the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History visual artist Claire Halpin will host a street-art workshop in Clarke Square, where families will create a huge family tree drawing on the square itself. Using chalks and stencils, a great big family tree will grow, connecting past and present, sharing stories and histories.

Meanwhile in Mayo, at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, events will explore the newest exhibitions on display, including Travellers’ Journey, which celebrates the rich culture, traditions and crafts of the Traveller community in the west of Ireland. There will be a recreation of Traveller life in the 1950s, including a fully restored barrel top wagon, a traditional tent, a flat cart, a working tin-smith, Traveller storytellers and a campfire.

Connected to the Museum’s popular ‘National Treasures’ exhibition, there will be talks by Ruth Griffin and Linda King, two of the ‘National Treasures’ historians, who will discuss how the objects and stories gathered during the television series can give us a unique and fascinating angle on Irish history.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum said, “Imagine if the artefacts of our National Museum could speak. Imagine if you could hear the whispers and shouts of years of history as they told their stories. National Heritage Week provides the National Museum of Ireland with a wonderful opportunity to tell the stories of its collection. Through twenty diverse and free events we will welcome people from all over the world to help us tell the stories of our unique objects. We look forward to welcoming our visitors to all our museum sites across the country to engage in the stories of our joint national cultural heritage.”

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