Our Team

Museum 

Ruthanne Baxter, Museum advisor

Brenda Keneghan, Curator team (Collection Conservation advisor))

Allyson Smith, Curator team (Collection Conservation)

Basak Ellibes, Curator team (Toy Specialist)

History 

Professor Mary O’Dowd, History Team Lead

Dr Sarah Anne Buckley

Dr Richard McElligott

Lorraine McEvoy

Professor Eileen Murphy

Annika Stendebach

Children’s Rights 

Dr Gabriela Martinez-Sainz, Children’s Rights Team Lead

Harry Shier, Child and Youth Voices 

Clare Daly, Child Protection and Law

Paula Walshe, Early Childhood Voices 

Viktoria Kozak, with Elise and Matthew age 10 – Ukrainian Voices

Child and Youth Voices team (12-18 years):

Alex Molloy

Precious Benjamin

Freya Feeney

Jemi John

Sinead O’Reilly

Alannah O’Sullivan

Nicole Power

Danny Sheehy

Education 

Dr Matthew Fogarty, Education Team Lead

Dr Mira Dobutowitsch

Dave Lordan

Dr Suzanne O’Keeffe

Melatu Uche Okorie

Children’s Literature

Ciara Aoife O’Síoráin, Children’s Literature Team Lead

Jennifer Powell

Professor Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak

Kyle Ginsberg

Maisie Greener

Dr Catherine Gilliand

Strategy 

Sorcha Kavanagh, Strategy Team Lead

Óisín Hassan

David Kitching

Robert Henri and the Children of Achill project

Majella McAllister, Project Lead

Dorothée Schmid McCoole, Project co-ordinator ( Art & Public History)

Dr Ciara Breathnach, UL, (History) 

Jessica Burton-Restrick, (Art History – Curation)

Sarah-Anne Buckley, NUIG, (History)

MoCI and Heritage Council’s CTCHC project, Tralee /Tipperary

Majella McAllister, Project Lead

Cliodhna Martin

Eoin O’Connor

Community Engagement 

Chloe Browne, Engagement Lead

Áine Furey, Folklore

Aoife Ní Chorráin, Irish Language

Aoife Cawley

Dakota Oliveira

Strategy 

Sorcha Kavanagh, Strategy Lead

Óisín Hassan

David Kitching

Marketing

Emily Barton, Marketing Lead 

Yagmur Burhan, Social Media

 Megan Brien, Graphic Design

Accountants

Doyle & Co. Accountants, 43 Wilson Rd., Mount Merrion, Dublin

Honorary Members

  • Dr Pat Donlon, Ambassador
  • Dr Marnie Hay, History

Strategic and Collaborative Partners

Achill Tourism – Robert Henri and the Children of Achill

Heritage Council – Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme (Alison Harvey, Planning & Development Officer)

Innov8 Creative Academy

Saoirse Ethnic Hands on Deck Co-Operative – Cork Migrant Project

SETU Carlow

SETU Waterford

University College Dublin

https://www.tcd.ie/

https://www.qub.ac.uk/

https://www.universityofgalway.ie/cfrc/

The MoCI are working with Saoirse Ethnic Hands on Deck at the Cork Migrant Project, and Innov8, on our Sustainable, Ecological, Ethical brand initiative for the museum ‘Kyle Na No’.

We continue to expand our Home and Diaspora teams. Would you like to volunteer alongside us? Wherever you are in the world, do please get in touch:

mmcallister@museumofchildhood.ie

Ruthanne Baxter, Museum Advisor

Ruthanne is Museums Manager at the University of Edinburgh. A native of Co. Fermanagh, her love of engaging people with heritage began as a Tour Guide for the National Trust, aged 17, at Florence Court House. Ruthanne comes to the Museum of Childhood Ireland with 18 years experience in heritage business, tourism, and audience development. She is creator of Prescribe Culture, a flagship heritage-based social prescribing programme, and Creative Director of the Hidden in Heritage Festival, which raises awareness of the history of hidden disabilities.

Ruthanne was born with a love of music and dancing, encouraged by her Granda Aiken, who would have RTÉ radio on, every evening, listening to traditional Irish music. At the age of 5, she had the excitement of being a flower girl for her wonderful neighbour, Barbara. The highlight of the day for her was getting to waltz, for the first time, on her father’s feet.

Chloe Browne, Community Engagement Lead

Chloe Browne is an arts writer and curatorial assistant from Ireland. Currently working in the contemporary art sector, she holds a dual undergraduate degree in Art History and Italian from Trinity College Dublin and a Master’s in Art History and Curatorial Practice from the University of Edinburgh. Guided by a keen interest in social history as told through the medium of art, Chloe’s work explores how objects, literature, and artistic media can inform a study of societies past and present. Passionate about public engagement with culture and the arts at all levels, she is delighted to be working in the realm of community engagement at the Museum to encourage a connection with the subject of childhood across Ireland and further afield.

There was nothing I loved more than a playground as a kid, especially swings. I think I drove my whole family demented. I may have only had ten words in my vocabulary but one was definitely “push.” I also used to spend a lot of time with my granny and other adults when I was young, as I was the first grandchild. As such, I didn’t really understand the concept of adults versus children so I just presumed all my granny’s friends were my best friends too. I was absolutely disgusted one day when we went on a day trip together and the three sixty year old women tried to explain to me that they couldn’t go down the children’s slide at the Zoo.

Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, History Team

Sarah-Anne is Lecturer in History at the National University of Ireland Galway. Her research centres on the history of childhood and youth, gender and women in Ireland. Author of The Cruelty Man: Child Welfare, the NSPCC and the State in Ireland, 1889-1956 (Manchester University Press, 2013), she is President of the Women’s History Association of Ireland (WHAI), Chair of the Irish History Students Association, and Co-Director of the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class (NUIG).  

I have grown up alongside my care bear teddy bear, Carbie, who was the ripe age of 35 on 25 Dec 2019.

Yagmur Burhan, Social Media Lead

Dr Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak, Children’s Literature Team

Justyna is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the Center for Young People’s Literature and Culture at the Institute of English Studies, University of Wroclaw, Poland. She is the author of Yes to Solidarity, No to Oppression: Radical Fantasy Fiction and Its Young Readers (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). She is a Kosciuszko, Fulbright and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow. She has served as a member of the executive board of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature

One of the most vivid memories of Justyna’s childhood, spent in communist Poland, is the sight of the pink wall of Barbie doll boxes at a Mattel shop she visited in the mid 1980s, when staying with her friends in Belgium.  Barbie dolls were some of the most coveted toys among Polish children in that period.    

Dave Lordan, Education Team

Dave is an Irish poet inspired by our various oral, singer-songwriter, and rebel poetry traditions and by resistance to empire, capital, and human domestication. His books have won many awards and nominations and he has been a key figure in radicalising multimedia literature in Ireland over the past two decades. He is a renowned youth educator and works on numerous youth creativity projects, and he often writes of his eventful childhood and from the perspective of the marginalised, undisciplinable child. Listen here to his latest soundscaped story, “Ravelations” (about when Travellers and Labourers in a small Irish town united with New Age Travellers to defy the Gardaí and hold a massive rave together). Click here to watch his powerful meditation on the suicide epidemic, “My Mother Speaks To Me of Suicide.” Engage with his wide-ranging back catalogue here, and his current opinions here.

The photo shows me at age 16 in late summer of 1991, at a friend’s “free gaff” party, after which we were all grounded for 1000 years.

Dr Richard McElligott, History Team

Richard is Lecturer of Modern and Irish History in the Department of Humanities at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). Prior to taking up that role in September 2019, he served for four years as a historical researcher on the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation, overseen by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. His research expertise includes Irish social history, with a particular expertise on Irish sporting history. He has published widely in this area and some of his latest work has examined the role of sport in the history of Irish childhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

As a child growing up in rural North Kerry, I loved to explore the fields or trying to investigate the course of nearby rivers. The worst example was the time I was to attend an altar-boy meeting in the village Church. That meeting ended suddenly. Rather than wait for my parents to collect me, I decided it would be quicker to walk the five miles home by myself, I was only 7 at the time. It took me hours, and my mother (not having a clue where I was) was distraught. The neighbours went out driving around with herself and my father. Eventually as dusk closed in my father spotted me on the main road only a half mile from the house. That put a stop to my exploring – at least until the following weekend!

Dr Suzanne O’Keeffe, Education Team

Suzanne lectures in sociology of education and social, personal and health education (SPHE) in the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University. Suzanne has 10 years teaching experience in a primary school classroom. Her research interests include children and childhood, education, gender and masculinities.

This is me at 4 years of age visiting my grand-aunt in Limerick city. I think I was told to “mind” the toddler on the chair and smile for the photo!

Melatu Uche Okorie, Education Team

Melatu was born in Enugu, Nigeria and has been living in Ireland since 2006. She has an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies including, Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber & Faber) and The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish short stories (Head of Zeus). Her debut collection, This Hostel Life, was published in May, 2018.

Ciara Aoife O’Síoráin, Children’s Literature Team

Ciara is a Rome-based writer-of-all-forms and an EFL Teacher for children and teenagers. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Civilisations and English Literature. Having received a European Excellence Scholarship for her academic and civic achievements, she continued her studies and graduated in 2022 with a MPhil degree in Children’s Literature. Her research focuses on child agency and narrative focus in children’s literature. She has presented her research at several prestigious international conferences and is founding editor of ‘Childlike’: A Journal of Childhood. This journal explores all concepts of childhood and adulthood in modern society through art, creative writing and academic research. Ciara is also the writer behind Tesoro Irlandese, a life-blog about her heart-city, Rome. 

Here I am, absolutely coated head to toe in mud which I assume came from the massive ditch behind me. By my side, as he has always been, is my brother. I can only imagine the idea to play in the dirt was entirely my own, considering his pristine condition. Growing up with three older brothers, I was raised in a rough-and-tumble manner which I have always been incredibly grateful for. My family remains the most important pillar of support in my life, standing by my side and offering valuable advice, even when I make terrible decisions (like playing in the dirt in my new clothes!)

Annika Stendebach, History Team

Annika is a doctoral researcher at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at the University of Giessen. Her PhD project focuses on Irish youth and social change between 1958 and 1973. It might seem strange that a German student is working on such a project, but after spending her Erasmus year at the National University of Ireland Galway in 2012/2013, Annika just fell in love with Ireland and its people. She has not stopped researching Irish youth culture since.

I was quite the whirlwind as a child, always running around and playing outside. The only time my parents managed to get me to come inside and sit down, was when they read stories to me. One of my favourite books were the adventures of “Pippi Longstocking” by Astrid Lindgren, probably because I identified so much with her. Judging from our shared characteristics, I actually think my parents chose the wrong character from the novel as my namesake.

Paula Walshe, Early Childhood Voices

Paula is an Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Lecturer in both further and higher education. She is currently pursuing a PhD in STEAM Based Interventions in ECEC with the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and Dublin City University (DCU) Graduate School. Paula holds an MA in Leadership in Early Childhood Education and has extensive ECEC experience in both pedagogical practice and ECEC management. She is a regular blogger on topics relevant to ECEC and hosts an ECEC community of practice and podcast (available at ECE Quality Ireland, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, & Linktree). Paula’s book on quality standards in ECEC practice is forthcoming in 2023.