OVERVIEW. An an original board and steering group, based in Co Dublin, and involving an islandwide and diaspora volunteer group, we’ve worked over a number of years to develop a Museum of Childhood for Ireland concept. Contacts were established to support the initiative with technical skills, artefacts for the collection, and ongoing commitment to assist in creative content and marketing. A range of potential funders and supporters at policy-making and political level were contacted, and research in relation to such an Ireland carried out. Best practice in current curricula informed programme planning, and comparative studies referencing International institutions with elements of this museum project were completed.
2014 – Majella McAllister brought together an initial project group to prepare a plan ,outlining her mission and vision for a Museum of Childhood, identifying key markets and impact. Support was garnered from businesses, as well as educational and cultural communities; potential national and international collaborative partnerships were identified and explored both in the public and private sectors.
2015 – ‘Piggybank’ (Eduventure Ltd) fundraising, was established with the aim of providing support for a maximum of up to 5 years. With it’s own board, it’s aim was to provide a project office and early seed funding for the Museum development and to begin facilitating programmes around social inclusion, proposal testing, and funding for freely available community-based programmes. A number of initiatives were carried out from the premises ( including signatures of support collecting and hosting of Talks / Workshops etc) to gauge interest in a Museum of Childhood. Strong relationships were forged with a range of organisations in the History, Child Rights, and Education sectors. All income generated by the hugely successful recycled goods shop ( and DúnLaoghaires’s first ever Community Bookshop / Event space! ), provided ALL of the financial support needed to the museum project from inception until the shop closed with the death of our wonderful shop landlord Brendan Doyle, and the end of the 5 year lease on the shop which concluded early in 2020.
Grace Kelly-Fitzgerald took over fundraising for the museum with her own fundraising initiatives from 2020-2021.
Kay Duggan-Walls took over fundraising for the museum with her own fundraising initiatives from 2021-2022.
2016 – A board was set up from a broad spectrum of expertise to support the establishment of the Museum proper, comprising members from diverse fields including education, business, architecture, exhibition and installation design, its purpose being to bring the Museum from concept to creation by outlining the vision and mission and providing a robust business and financial plan. The Board was fortunate to have access to advisors with professional expertise in museum conservation and curatorship. In May 2016, the National Museum of Childhood was formally registered as a company.
The Museum was re registered on the 16th February 2018 as the Museum of Childhood Ireland.( Ltd by guarantee)
2017 – During 2017, sub-groups were developed in 4 important core areas: Education, History, Child and Youth Rights and Child/ Youth Voices. These groups, each led by experts in their individual fields, have developed policies and strategies for implementation in the museum and beyond, and they have collaborated on Event Days and Exhibitions on these themes. A Business Plan was commissioned from CHL with funds raised in full through ‘Piggybank’, as a requirement of dialogue with Dúnlaoghaire Rathdown County Council.
2018 – While work in the 4 areas of education, history, children’s rights and Voices continues, the successful launch of a social media campaign raised the profile of the Museum of Childhood Ireland, and by early 2019 the museum Facebook had more than 20,000 followers*. The first of our 12 month long travelling exhibitions on ‘Children in War’ was held in locations across Ireland.
2019 – The Museum of Childhood Ireland submitted an application for Charitable Status and Charitable status was granted. In order to operate on the guiding principle of affordability, access and inclusivity for all, hybrid funding to include financial and in-kind support from local and national businesses, private donations, grant-aid, a crowd-funding campaign, and a layered membership / support network is envisioned. Advanced research and consultation on a preferred location for a Museum of Childhood Ireland was undertaken, and a programme of policy development commenced, supported by principles of best practice and governance procedures. A 2nd important islandwide Children in War travelling exhibition, ‘The Basque Children of ‘37’ was planned and implemented.
*By 2021 we had 30,00+ followers on Facebook and 4,000+ on Twitter. We have recently added an Instagram account and a LinkedIn page for the museum.
The focus for our team for 2022 is on finalising the location for the permanent home for the Museum of Childhood Ireland and taking the museum from voluntary, unfunded museum to professional, accredited museum.
Town/ City centre location for frequent visits / community hub
Accessible by bus / train / walking / cycling
Complete physical accessibility to all areas of the museum for staff and visitors
Old building to repurpose and restore in line with best practice in conservation and along ‘green’ principles
Flexible interior layout, museum galleries, temporary exhibition / display areas, art galleries, Research area, library, education rooms, theatre, puppet theatre, screening room, workshops, doll hospital, museum shop and coffee shop. Pathways through museum for different age groups and to access the darker stories of Irish childhood history.
Some outdoor space. Wild garden, bat and insect boxes, tree planting, vegetable garden, outdoor classroom, free play and picnic space. Rainwater harvesting, recycling, repurposing, and reusing of materials, solar / alternative energy and green roofs where applicable.
The museum will not be confined to the physical building but embrace / radiate out into the community with family friendly routes to and from the location.
2022. MoCI’s Facebook page is now at 34,000+ followers, Twitter 5,000 +, and our new Linkedin and Instagram accounts at 1,350 and 970 followers respectively. Ekaterina Tikhoniouk will lead on engagement and growth across all our existing platforms, and develop new platforms as appropriate.
2023 will see the creation of our virtual museum space…