23 April 2023
By Elaine Murphy
The museum is open Tue to Fri 10-4pm and Sat 11-4pm – entry is free – it’s certainly worth a visit as entry is free
This week, Cork Public Museum, “Ireland’s oldest Local Authority Museum” (its run by Cork City Council), was officially notified that they had achieved “Full Accreditation” under the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI). This recognises that the museum has successfully met the 37 professional standards required to achieve full accreditation in all areas of museum operations including management, collection care and visitor services. The award is an endorsement of the work done by museum staff over the last decade and recognises the quality of the exhibitions/events and education/out-reach programmes hosted by the museum. The improvements made in the conservation and storage of the museum’s collections (c. 60,000 objects) were also recognised.
The Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) was established by the Heritage Council in 2007 to benchmark and promote professional standards in the care of collections and to recognise through accreditation the achievement of those standards within the Irish museum sector. It is usually a 5-year journey with a two-step Accreditation process (Interim Accreditation after 3 years and Full Accreditation, two years later). Unfortunately, Covid restrictions delayed the museum’s progress by at least 12 months.
The museum entered the programme in 2016 with the aspiration of improving and professionalising many aspects of its operations. The successful completion of the MSPI Accreditation process now enables the museum to avail of future Heritage Council funding and projects a message to any potential funders that Cork Public Museum is professionally managed and that any funding given would be appropriately utilised.
The MSPI process has also encouraged a more holistic approach to how the museum is run, allowing all the different facets of its administration, collection management and public services to be better aligned. For example, the museum now has a wide range of strategic and policy documents to better integrate all elements of the work done at the museum. As a result, the museum is in a better position to increase and improve its facilities and services and bring the museum and its collections to a wider audience.
Achieving MSPI is in effect a promise made by the museum to continue caring for our collections to the highest possible standards so that the local communities, as well as national and international visitors, can enjoy and engage with Cork’s wonderful material heritage for this and future generations.
Museum curator Dan Breen BA said: “This is one of the proudest moments in the museum’s 78-year history and we are honoured to be joining many of fellow institutions within the museum and heritage sector who have already achieved this milestone. Management at Cork Public Museum would like to acknowledge our colleagues in Cork City Council, and the Heritage Council, for their support and encouragement throughout the entire process.”