Clare Champion, Friday, January 5, 2007
Clare Museum is Ireland’s second most visited local authority museum, according to figures released today. 39,500 people visited Clare Museum in 2006 placing the Ennis-based museum ahead of 11 other similar facilities throughout the country.
Commenting on the figures, Curator John Rattigan said, “Once again, Clare Museum has proven to be one of the county’s top visitor attractions. The total of 39,500 visitors means the Museum was the second highest of the 12 local authority museums in the country. We were behind Cork Public Museum, which received 55,000 visitors during 2006, and ahead of Waterford and Kerry with 27,000 and 35,000 visitors respectively. We were also placed well ahead of Donegal, Monaghan and Louth County Museums which each had 10,000 visitors or less.”
Mr. Rattigan said that a number of factors have contributed to the high visitor numbers. “The highlights of 2006 included ‘The Clare Embroidery Exhibition’ and ‘The Ennis Bypass Exhibition’, both of which helped to attract thousands of additional visitors to the Museum. The continued development of the Clare Heritage Circle, of which Clare Museum is a founding member, also contributed to the museum’s growth. Meanwhile, the Museum’s Outreach Project at Raheen Daycare Centre in Tuamgraney and outreach work with the Clare Adult Basic Education Service further underlined our desire to promote social inclusion as well as the heritage and history of Clare within the wider community”, he said.
Mr. Rattigan added, “We are delighted to have welcomed more than 1,700 school-children from 36 different National and Secondary Schools in Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Meath and Offaly. This influx of younger visitors was complimented by the continuation of the hugely successful Clare Museum Website quiz, held in association with Clare Education Centre.”
Meanwhile, Clare Museum has recently been successful in its application to become a participant in the Heritage Council's Standards and Accreditation Scheme, which will begin later this year. According to Mr. Rattigan, “I am delighted that Clare Museum was one of 12 successful applicants, as a place on the scheme was highly sought by museums throughout the country. The scheme is designed to aid museum's and their staff reach new heights of professionalism to a new uniform national standard.”
Looking ahead to 2007, Mr. Rattigan said, “Clare Museum’s policy of hosting regular high profile temporary exhibitions is set to continue in the near future. An exhibition celebrating the life of Dr Brendan O’Regan, one of Ireland’s most noted peace ambassadors and initiators of commercial and industrial initiatives, will be held early next year. Over the coming months, we intend conducting another outreach project in the community, while continuing with education projects and quizzes at national and secondary school level.”