Thursday, 17 December 2009
Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
Question 222: To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the extent to which museum space here is sufficient to accommodate the display of all items of historical significance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48121/09]
The National Museum of Ireland is the national repository for all archaeological objects that may be discovered. The Museum is also charged with the conservation and display of the National Collection of moveable heritage and the expansion and enhancement of that Collection. As a collecting agency the Museum will always have material in storage. All archaeological objects found, with no known owner, belong to the State.
The National Museum of Ireland became an independent non-commercial semi-state body under the terms of the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 with effect from May 2005 and operates under the Board appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Therefore I have no statutory role in relation to the functions of the Museum. I wish to point out however, that my Department, in collaboration with the Office of Public Works, has enabled the Museum to obtain storage accommodation in Swords, Co. Dublin.
The National Museum of Ireland manages the Designated County Museum scheme. Designated museum are legally entitled to retain objects on behalf o the State. Designated museums have to meet strict guidelines in the care of objects. They employ a full-time professional curator and have the resources and skills to care for objects. The National Museum will lend objects for display only to designated museums. All archaeological objects, on loan from the National Museums, remain State property. Designated museums will accept an archaeological object only if it is of local interest and be used for educational or display purposes. In general, objects that are primarily of national interest will normally be acquired by the National Museum.
The following are Designated County Museums: Cavan County Museum, Clare County Museum, Cork Public Museum, County Museum Dundalk, Donegal County Museum, Kerry County Museum, Limerick Museum, Monaghan County Museum, Tipperary South County Museum and Waterford Treasures Museum. The Department has a scheme for the support of non-State museums and galleries and for the encouragement of co-operation between National Cultural Institutions and local museums and galleries.