What is the MCI?

Museum of Childhood Ireland / Músaem Óige na hÉireann 

Hill Street Playground, Dublin 1970s.

There is no simple or singular version of childhood in Ireland or anywhere. Our aim is access for everyone to the stories and collections that represent the diverse experiences of childhood in Ireland across the centuries and up to the present day. Currently, a home for these experiences of childhood is missing in our national fabric.

All experiences of childhood are different. We see the MCI as having a role in enabling the telling and sharing of this diversity. That’s why a project like the Museum of Childhood is important and needs a permanent home. By gathering stories, images and objects  together in one place it offers insights into the diverse experiences of what it was and is to be a child in an ever-changing Ireland and world.

Within the MCI, children themselves will help drive that change. The museum’s permanent and temporary collections will help tell those diverse stories.

The Museum’s principal objectives will be the collecting, curating and exhibiting of historical artefacts. We aim to create meaningful and lasting experiences for children and adults. The museum will:

 ● Tell the stories of the day-to-day lives of children growing up in Ireland through permanent and temporary collections of historic artefacts and images related to childhood in Ireland and the wider world

● Research and disseminate the historical significance of childhood and children on the island of Ireland / amongst the diaspora

● Give voice to the children’s stories with empathy and sensitivity reflecting an often difficult past

● Stimulate and nourish the imagination of both children and adults by appealing to their sense of inquisitiveness

● Foster innovation and creativity

● Provide learning experiences through interactive and interdisciplinary engagement

● Offer research opportunities and extensive outreach programmes

● Contribute to the local, regional and national cultural landscape

● Contribute to the local, regional and national tourism economy in a significant and distinctive way

● Establish a home for the MCI which will be environmentally-focused with crucial outdoor space and be linked physically to and be an integral part of it’s home community.

And crucially, promote the Voice of the Child from earliest times to now!

Values

The MCI is underpinned by the following values: Respect, Integrity, Equality, and Diversity

Mission

The aggregation of local knowledge around childhood and children, together with academically-researched history is core to our mission:

The Museum of Childhood Ireland aims to deliver a world-class facility exploring the history, culture and rights of children and childhood on the island of Ireland. Its principal objective is the establishment of a Museum which will collect, curate and exhibit artefacts relating to children and childhood on the island of Ireland from the earliest times to the present day, and the promotion of the voice of the child.

It is cultural institutions such as the MCI, actively encouraging youth participation that will assist with fostering tolerance and acceptance of the diversity of society in modern Ireland.

Future Home

We see the home for the museum as fitting comfortably within a city or busy town. A good public transport network, and an environmentally-forward attitude around cyclist / pedestrian friendly streets and urban streetscaping is essential. 

“When considering the needs of children, the emphasis is on the destination. However, it is also important to consider the journey, providing safe and accessible routes. Incidental play and exploration can be incorporated in everyday journeys, through tactile surfaces.” ‘Play on the way’. RPTI.

Through sensitive restoration of an old building, coupled with complete accessibility in all aspects of and to all areas of the museum, the museum will play an important role for all citizens in sustainable community and town centre revitalisation. We see it’s possibilities as a local authority museum, or partnership.

Who we are

The Board of the MCI comprises individuals with the professional skills and experience required to underwrite the development and delivery of the project, coupled with a dedication to, and passion for bringing the stories of childhood experiences in Ireland, across the centuries, to a wide and diverse audience.

The MCI voluntary Board is supported by a wider group of volunteers with specialist knowledge in History, Children’s Rights, Child and Youth Voices, Education, Children’s Literature, Marketing and Social Media, Graphic Design, Governance, Conservation, Strategy, IT and Fundraising

In May 2016, the MCI formally registered as a company and was granted charitable status. Our Registered Charity number is 20205452.

The board of the MCI has adopted the Corporate Governance Code and are aiming for placement in the Good Governance Awards for 2021.

What we do.

We work in collaboration with a range of stakeholders to create and present exhibitions and co-curated exhibitions, events and projects that serve our mission statement:

The collection

The MCI has a small, carefully selected collection of artefacts as well as access to many more. These include but are not limited to:

● Books (Scrapbook 1917 and an Enid Blyton collection, 1950s)

● Toys (Crolly Dolls 1930, Dolls House, 1930s and a Meccano sets, 1920-80s)

● Board Games (Horse racing, Rocket Game, 1960 )

● Clothing (Sailor suit, 1920, Edwardian Dresses and Irish Christening gowns)

● Educational (School desk, books, copy books and a ‘leather’ circa, 1950)

● Baby equipment (Baby cradle, 1895, Reddin sunchair ,1910, Corduroy baby pram, 1970)

● Medical (Polio calipers, 1905, medicine bottles)

● A variety of sporting items

Help Needed

To progress this unique project, we need help with:

● Locating a home for the MCI, within an urban setting

● Resourcing the work and team

● Supporting our outreach and engagement programmes

Status of the project and location

We are currently delivering our aims and objectives in the digital sphere. Pre-COVID, our activities were available on-site in various partner museums, community hubs and via ‘pop-up’ visibility. We are actively seeking a permanent home for the MCI, its carefully-curated collection and frequent exhibitions. Our collection is housed temporarily at the People’s Museum, Limerick and at the County Museum, Dundalk.

International recognition

The MCI is already an award-winning museum, having achieved recognition for its creativity and innovation, community cohesion and quality storytelling from ‘Kids in Museums ‘ and in recognition for our services to children worldwide, the Citta di Angri award, INACS.

In 2020, the MCI was shortlisted from over 400 museums worldwide to the final 6 for #Project2020Together, Le Chéile, in @kidsinmuseums ‘Best International Digital Activity’ category alongside 5 phenomenal museums: The Glucksman, the Rijksmuseum, the Warhol Museum, the Glazer Museum and the National Gallery of Singapore.

Exhibitions

The exhibition was curated and mounted in the following locations:

Physical space:

● Art Center, Illinois, USA (Sept-Dec 2020)

● Killarney House and Gardens, Killarney National Park, Ireland (from December 2020)

● Udaaya Museum, Kathmandu, Nepal (from January 2021)

● The People’s Museum Limerick (from February 2021)

● The Robert Emmet CDP, Dublin (from August 2021)

● City of Rubano, Veneto, Italy (from September 2021)

Online space:

● INACS, the Istituto Nazionale Arte Cultura Spettacolo, Italy (from January 2021)

● Udaaya Museum, Kathmandu, Nepal (from January 2021)

● Vimuseo, Global museums platform from June 2021

Online audience

We have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Our online Facebook audience has grown to over 32,000 followers. https://www.facebook.com/MuseumOfChildhoodIreland

The board of the MCI is currently working to identify a suitable permanent home for the museum. The building will be accessible to everybody and will tell the history of children and childhood on the island of Ireland through artefacts, images and other museum displays. The MCI welcomes input from Government Departments, Local Government, Cultural Institutions, Organisations and private individuals who would like to work with us on this unique cultural initiative.