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Children Questioning History

Clare People Weekender, Friday, 2nd March 2007

The most successful outreach project ever to be undertaken by Clare Museum celebrated its fifth anniversary this week. Since its establishment in March 2002, the Clare Museum Website Quiz has recorded thousands of entries from 38 primary and secondary schools around the county.

According to John Rattigan, Museum Curator, the increase of available Internet-enabled PC’s in the county’s schools had provided a positive challenge for the museum. “Following consultation with the Clare Education Centre it was decided to run monthly quizzes based on the captions that accompany the artefacts displayed on the site,” he explained. “Students answer the questions, which are placed on the Clare Education Website, by visiting the museum site from their school PC. With prizes awarded to the winner of the quiz, the initiative has proven very successful with school-children.”

The virtual exhibition experienced by pupils entering the quiz also promotes the museum and its exhibitions to school-children, and entry to the quiz by a class is often followed by a physical visit to the museum. The number of school field trips to Clare Museum has increased year on year since the abolition of admission fees for all school children in early 2002.

During 2006, 1748 school-children visited the local authority-run Museum. The students came from 36 different National and Secondary Schools in Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Meath and Offaly.

“2006 was a phenomenal year for visitors to the museum and is a reflection of the hugely successful Website Quiz as well as the wide ranging and unique collection of artefacts and exhibits on display. Clare Museum is a wonderful heritage and tourist attraction and I hope that even greater numbers of school-children will visit us in 2007,” added Mr. Rattigan.

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