Irish Museums Survey

Principal Investigator: Emily Mark-FitzGerald
Funding: New Horizons Grant, Irish Research Council
Publications: Irish Museums Survey (November 2016)

Photograph showing a detail of the National Museum of Ireland gate

From 2015-16 the Irish Museums Survey 2016 was carried out by a team based in the Irish Museums Association (IMA), in partnership with the Irish Museums Trust and UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy. The principal aim of this research is to provide an up-to-date and expansive account of the Irish museums sector and its activities. 

Ten years have elapsed since the last all-island survey of Irish museums, with the most recent data published in 2005 (and previous to this, in 1994).  Since that time the Republic has weathered economic recession and the sector has experienced significant fluctuations in governance, budgets, and resourcing that have affected museums across the island. This report therefore rectifies a fundamental knowledge gap concerning the current state of Irish museums. It updates previous surveys of Museums in Ireland to reflect current structures, funding, and activities, and provides new information on recent and growing areas of interest, such as the impact of recession; alternative income and fundraising activities; the rise of digitization and online marketing; use of internships, volunteers and community employment schemes, etc. With 118 museums participating, the data presented in this report includes independent, community, county, regional and national museums, north and south, at all scales of activity. In sharing this data with the professional museum sector, arts and heritage policy-makers, tourism and leisure bodies, education authorities, academic researchers, and the public, we hope to improve knowledge of Irish museums –their conditions, activities, and lived experience – as they continue to play a vital role in preserving and sharing the heritage of this island. As part of our analysis, we seek to further identify current trends affecting museum policy and provision, reflecting both on progress made to date and future challenges.

Click here to download the Irish Museums Survey 2016 (optimised for web viewing)