Clare Museum Online

Local Authority News , April, 2002

A new website for Clare Museum has been launched by Minister Sile de Valera. The site is a truly comprehensive and interactive website.

On the 8th February, a new website for Clare Museum was launched by Minister Sile de Valera TD.

There has been a great upsurge in the provision of County Museums over the past decade. Museums continue to expand their collections, and explore and develop new ways to allow access to them. Museums need no longer be just buildings or institutions but can become community resources to be used by people regardless of where they live. Clare, a county which has often been described as an open air museum of Irish life, is to the fore in this new development. The website that is being launched is a truly comprehensive and interactive website.

The first message received once the website wen live in January last was from Ms Pat Brady, of Australia, who had very recently donated her Clare-born grandfather's indenture, dating from 1876. And I quote:

"My sister Joanne and I have viewed your website where you have placed Grandfather Browne's indenture and photo. We just want to let you know what a wonderful experience it was to see them there on the web for all to view them. We were quite thrilled and very much affirmed in our decision to entrust these precious things to your care".

The second message received came from local historian Martin Breen,

"I have just been checking the museum site, and have to offer my congratulations. The quality of the photos and their enlargement is unbelievable. It is really a super site."

These two messages show that this website can bring the museum into your home or school, irrespective of where you live. They are also remarkable, in that they were received before any publicity or promotion of the site had been done. As indeed is the fact that there have been over 500 visitors to the site to date, despite the fact that this sire is only being officially launched today.

The museum website is fully integrated into the library site that contains a host of information on the culture, archaeology, history, and topography of County Clare. It is important to stress also that this new museum site is not just a "virtual" version of the physical museum. The museum website takes full advantage of the rich resources of the world wide web, linking artefacts to other websites which give a fuller picture of these objects and the world in which they originated.

The Clare Museum is now open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year through the world wide web at www.clarelibrary.ie

Minister de Valera also used the opportunity to designate Clare Museum under the National Cultural Institutions Act (1997). Under this legislation, Clare Museum is now a recognised repository of archaeological artifacts and places the museum amongst the premiership of museums in country.

Museum Curator John Rattigan, was conferred with designation under the National Monuments Act (1994) which he considers a great honour. "As a designated person under the Act, I am allowed to collect artifacts on behalf of the Director of the National Museum of Ireland. It also provides me with a platform to develop community relations, providing advice to developers and farmers with regard to the conservation of National Monuments".

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