Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland proves size doesn’t matter

Director Tori McMorran represented Thomas MacDonagh Museum at the in-person MSPI awards ceremony in Kilkenny Castle on 13 July. Thomas MacDonagh Museum was invited to attend because the Heritage Council wanted to acknowledge the achievements of Museum’s – like ours – whose MSPI accreditation ceremonies were held online in 2021.

13 museums were celebrated in 2023 having achieved official accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI). Established to promote professional standards in museums, selection under the MSPI is a major accolade with accredited museums considered to have attained excellence across a range of areas.

Since its inception in 2006, the Irish museum sector has continued to embrace the programme with participation growing from 12 museum sites to 67 in 2022. Because no two museums are the same, the path to accreditation is different for all participants. Whereas museums with large collections may encounter challenges relating to storage and upkeep of large volumes of material, the volunteers in smaller museums may struggle to find the time or motivation to reach the MSPI standards.

Among the museums completing their journey to full accreditation were the Allihies Copper Mine Museum (ACMM) and three National Museum of Ireland (NMI) sites; two very different museums which nonetheless share a sense of purpose and values.

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