Education Officer Recruited at Clare Museum

The Clare Champion, Friday, January 20th, 2012

Clare Museum has recruited an education officer under the FAS Jobsbridge scheme.

According to John Rattigan, museum curator, ‘we were delighted at the six month placement of Paula McNamara as education officer at the museum in September and she has spearheaded a refreshing programme of activities, for example, a hugely successful Hallowe’en festival which had face-painting, pumpkin carving and traditional storytelling activities for children at the museum for the first time’.

The resulting increase in educational activities and visiting school groups posed another challenge for the understaffed museum. Taking a leaf from museums in the US, two volunteers Emer O’Connor and Paul O’Sullivan were sourced through the Clare Volunteer Centre on a pilot scheme to meet and greet the public at busy times as they entered the museum and to provide guided tours if required.

The volunteers are not present at the museum on a full time basis, but school tours of the museum can be moulded around their availability during the week.

Mr Rattigan said there have been some interesting displays in the museum in recent times. ‘Other opportunities arose during the year including the development of a temporary exhibition space by the National Roads Authority to display artefacts found along the route of the N18 Gort-Crusheen bypass. When this exhibition ended the display cases were used to display ‘Seen But Not Heard’ an exhibition of Irish Childhood around which Paula developed the educational programme.’

After several years of declining numbers, Clare Museum’s visitor figures for last year were slightly up on those for 2010, at nearly 24,000 visitors. ‘This places Clare Museum in the top tier of local authority museums in terms visitors even when compared with museums with greater resources’.

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