Museum of Childhood Ireland Project @ Killarney House and Gardens
One story begets another as Irish museum idea goes global
They say one story begets another – Tarraingíonn scéal scéal eile. In the case of an art project from Ireland’s Museum of Children that is certainly the case.
In this strange and unsettling time of Pandemic, the well-being and mental health of children is of paramount importance. A new outdoor exhibition at Killarney House and Gardens features works from children all over the world – showcasing how they have reacted to the pandemic.
‘Project 2020 Together/Le Chéile’ from the Museum of Childhood Ireland Project, started life online earlier this year, aiming to provide a platform for children of all ages to express their hopes, fears, thoughts and observations, as they navigated life during a global pandemic.
What started in Ireland soon spread around the world and physical exhibitions began to take place, first in Chicago. Before exhibitions commence in Nepal, Italy and the USA some of the finest global work is on display at it’s first ever outdoor installation at Killarney House and Gardens.
At lockdown, the Museum of Childhood Ireland reached out to children and invited them to share their thoughts and feelings regarding this time, using art, drawing, poems, or short stories. The museum hoped it might help them as they tried to make some sort of sense of Covid-19, from their perspective.
The collected works formed the basis of an online exhibition. The reaction from all over the world was phenomenal, and the physical exhibitions started – some in homes, others in schools, and then in Galleries and Museums. So good was the reaction, the entire project was nominated in the final 6 of the Family Friendly Museum Awards 2020 alongside Glazer Children’s Museum, USA, Andy Warhol Museum, USA, National Gallery Singapore, Rijksmuseum, Netherlands and the Glucksman in Cork in ‘Best International Digital Activity’ category.
But now, the Museum of Childhood felt a physical exhibition back home would further provide a sense of community and togetherness. And so, the first outdoor physical exhibition is currently running at Killarney House and Gardens, Killarney National Park, Killarney, Co Kerry until the end of the year.
A selection of works has been chosen for the Killarney exhibition that is representative of all the themes submitted: Fear, anger, loneliness, guilt, joy. Lots of other works are online. .
Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan TD was delighted that Killarney House and Gardens, within Killarney National Park, is the venue for the first outdoor staging of this project, before it transfers to Limerick, then Nepal for the next outdoor exhibition.
He thought this project stood out for the way it put children and young people’s voices front and centre. “We liked the international partnerships involved which reflected the global nature of the pandemic. This project is special because it combines some really powerful ingredients, firstly the enormous potential of creative expression to heal, to unlock and unblock and to bring resilience to our children.”
The project was devised and implemented by the Museum of Childhood Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day 2020. As entries from children around the world poured in, it was curated and launched as an online exhibition on June 4th 2020, introduced by author Myra Zepf. The bespoke frames for the children’s work were designed by author/ illustrator Carol Ann Treacy.
After Killarney, the next outdoor exhibition will be in Limerick, and at the Udaaya Museum, Kathmandu, Nepal as an outdoor physical exhibition with workshops in January 2021.
It will be an online exhibition in December with INACS, the Istituto Nazionale Arte Cultura Spettacolo, Italy, on ViMuseo from January 2021 and Art Center, Illinois, USA.
Further exhibition/workshop venues at home and abroad will be announced throughout 2021. The exhibition in Killarney was greatly assisted by Sapphire Signs, Killarney and Killarney House and Gardens for the spectacular setting.