Identity Statement for Museum of Irish Industry

  • Reference code: IE UCDA MII
  • Title: Records of the Museum of Irish Industry
  • Dates: 1854–67
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 7 items
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use
  • Allied Materials

Institutional history

The Museum of Irish Industry and Government School of Science applied to Mining and the Arts grew out of the Museum of Economic Geology (founded in 1845 due to the work of the scientist Sir Robert Kane). Its mission was to exhibit the rich and varied materials from the mining and manufacturing industries existing in Ireland (see MII/6) and to give courses of lectures to the public on related subjects. It was the responsibility of the Board of Trade, Department of Science and Art. Before its establishment, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Dublin Society [RDS] monopolised scientific instruction in Ireland and the museumís relations with the RDS were particularly contentious. The educational functions of the museum were divided between the two institutions. A representative committee—the Lecture Committee—was appointed jointly by the government and RDS in 1854 with responsibility for organising the common series of lectures (see MII/1–3). Its functions were limited to matters which concerned both institutions (public lectures in cities and provincial towns). This was not a harmonious arrangement but it lasted until 1865/6.

The abolition of the museum was recommended by a Treasury committee in 1862. Collections, except those emanating from the Geological Survey of Ireland, were commended to the care of the RDS. The RDS was also to be entrusted with direct scientific instruction in certain subjects by means of public lectures. A House of Commons select committee alternatively recommended the retention of the museum as a separate institution and redistribution of duties between it and the RDS. However, the recommendations of the Committee of Council on Education shaped its eventual development, recommending amongst other things, that it should become a college offering a complete course of instruction in those branches of science connected with industry and assist in the training of science teachers. The museum's collection policy would be limited to the collections relevant to its instruction and remain the depository for the Geological Survey. Thus it became the basis for the Royal College of Science of Ireland [RCSI] in 1866/7.

Archival history

The records of the Lecture Committee were transferred from the Engineering Library in UCD to UCD Archives. The other items were preserved with the records of the RCScI.

Scope and Content

Minute books and letter book of the Lecture Committee, volume of press cuttings (documenting the controversies surrounding the museum, its relationship with the RDS and the proposals for the museum’s future), museum catalogue (providing insight into the scope of its exhibitions) and financial records.

  • Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCD Archives reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in original format. Original material will be retrieved at 11am and 2pm only.
  • Language: English
  • Finding aid: Descriptive list

Related Collections in UCD Archives

The Records of the Royal College of Science of Ireland

Publication note

KEATING, Patrick.  Sir Robert Kane and industrial education at the Museum of Irish Industry and Queen's College, Cork. Unpublished M. Ed. thesis. Dublin: University College Dublin, 1979.