Irish Artists and Ireland's National Famine Commemoration
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Ireland’s Great Hunger Bord
ATTN: Seán O’Dowd
8 Cavray Road
Norwalk, CT 06855
Bullseye! Courageous editors.
Ten years ago on October 11, 2012, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum opened its doors to the public at Quinnipiac University, Hamden CT. It is the only museum in North America dedicated to commemorating the greatest humanitarian disaster of the 19th century. The museum was the culmination of years of curating and culling art, artifacts and texts that bore witness to An Gorta Mór, Ireland’s Great Hunger, which decimated the population of Ireland.
The unjustified--and well-documented—permanent closure of the museum in 2021 by Quinnipiac has been a violation of the public trust and an act of historical erasure. Since then, Quinnipiac has refused to provide evidence justifying the closure and to answer questions about the condition of the Collection.
Over the last year a small group of volunteers has come together to form Ireland’s Great Hunger Bord (IGHB), which is dedicated to helping institutions tell the story of this great famine. IGHB has developed a campaign to protect Ireland’s Great Hunger Collection shuttered at Quinnipiac. The collection commemorates the history of the Famine and the wide-ranging effect it has had on the United States. Over the year we have spent over $15,000 in our efforts to bring our campaign to the attention of the general public through our website, social media, media advertising, marketing promotions and special events. Now we need your help to continue this work.
To mark the 10th anniversary we encourage all well-meaning folks to help us urge Quinnipiac to reopen the museum in Hamden until the Connecticut Attorney General finishes his inquiry and approves a transfer to a qualified entity. By reopening the museum, the relevant humanitarian lessons and legacy represented by this unique collection will be broadcast to the general public at a time when issues of hunger, migration and poor and inefficient governance persist throughout the globe.
IGHB is your voice for the future of Ireland’s Great Hunger Collection—your support at whatever level will
strengthen our ability to protect the collection, encourage thoughtful planning for the future, and foster inclusive scholarship on this important topic across the globe.
Help us continue our work to protect the Ireland’s Great Hunger Collection
We are heartened by the continued public interest in exhibiting
the art collection that was on display at Ireland’s Great Hunger
Museum of Quinnipiac University. That acknowledgment
comes at a singular moment in time.
Ten years ago on October 11, 2012, the museum opened its
doors to the public. The IGHM was the world's only museum
dedicated to commemorating the greatest humanitarian disaster
of the 19th century.
The museum was the culmination of years of curating and
culling art, artifacts and texts that bore witness to An Gorta
Mór, Ireland’s Great Hunger, which decimated the population
of Ireland; one million people died and two million fled the country.
The unjustified--and well-documented—permanent closure of
the museum in 2021 by Quinnipiac has been a violation of the
public trust and an act of historical erasure. Since then,
Quinnipiac has refused to provide evidence justifying the
closure and to answer questions about the condition of the Collection.
To read more click here.
Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University should be celebrating
its tenth anniversary this month. The Museum that proudly opened its doors on
September 28, 2012, was the culmination of years of curating and culling art,
artifacts and texts that bore witness to An Gorta Mór, Ireland’s Great Hunger.
Instead, Quinnipiac has decided to play a dangerous game. The public outcry
surrounding the unjustified closure of the Museum has fallen on deaf ears,
and QU has, in an act of flagrant disrespect for their public trust, loaned a
portion of the Collection to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, a
hastily formed entity with no building, staff, membership or financial capacity.
Selected artworks will be on display in a hallway at the Fairfield Museum and
History Center for a few weeks before being hustled back into storage with the
remaining collection indefinitely. That Quinnipiac has approved of the loan of 30
pieces–of which only 24 appear to be on view–is an outrage and a violation,
given that Quinnipiac is still the guardian of the artworks.
Moreover, the loan was made on false pretenses: last March, in response to the
furor over the museum’s shuttering, Quinnipiac issued a public statement falsely
asserting the Collection was to be entrusted to the care of the Gaelic American
Club in Fairfield, Connecticut. That statement indicated that Quinnipiac’s Board
of Trustees had approved the transfer to the Gaelic American Club. However,
the Gaelic American Club had never voted among its members to ratify that
decision. The falsehood that GAC was the official steward was repeated publicly
by Quinnipiac Provost Debra Liebowitz at a gathering in Fairfield two weeks ago.
Then, last week (09.21.22), in a written memo to its members, Gerry Forde, the
Executive Committee-President of the Gaelic American Club disclaimed any
responsibility for the collection or for establishing a new Famine museum.