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Until recently the story of museums in independen July 4, 2012
Reviewer: Clara Cullen Studies Spring 2012 from Republic of Ireland  
Until recently  the story of museums in independent Ireland has been a record of these cultural institutions being taken for granted  at best  and of decades of bureaucratic neglect on the part of those who governed and administered the independent Irish state. With a stated belief that museums and galleries should  engage the public  celebrate human achievement and enrich people s lives   p.436   the author addresses the task of telling the story of Ireland s museums by examining their history  situating them in the international context and  in the last two sections  describing the emergence of the modern museum and discussing  potential developments in the museum of the future. The term  museum  is used in its widest sense and encompasses all types of collections from the early  cabinets of curiosities  to the public museums and art galleries that we know today. The story of Irish museums reflects not only wide ranging and in depth research  but also the author s wealth of experience as Keeper and Head of Education at the  National Gallery of Ireland. Although the title of the volume indicates that this study of Irish museums is confined to the period from 1790  in fact the first two sections give an overview of the origin of these institutions  from ancient Greece  Egypt and Rome  through the Middle Ages and Renaissance  to the galleries and museums of the eighteenth century Enlightenment. Crediting the French Revolution with the emergence of the modern museum and its new role as an educational institution  embodied in the transformation of the royal collections at the Louvre into a public museum  open to all  Bourke then examines how this catalyst influenced the establishment of similar institutions in other European cities and in North America. Following this overview and against this background  Bourke focuses on  Ireland  and evaluates the role and contribution of three major Irish institutions  the Dublin Society  from 1820 the Royal Dublin Society   the Royal Irish Academy  and Trinity College Dublin  to the evolution and development of  museums and galleries in Ireland. Subsequent sections  each devoted to a century  follow this pattern  with a review of British and American museum models followed by a detailed review of the Irish museum movement in the nineteenth  century   Museum foundation  and  The golden age of collectors    the twentieth century   the museum age    and concluding with a chapter on the key developments in the twenty first century museum. This book is a welcome and ground breaking contribution to the history of  Ireland s museums and galleries. Taking a broad approach to the topic  it is virtually comprehensive in its coverage. The author includes a wide variety of institutions and collections in her study  discussing not only the major public museums and  large societies and the university museums of TCD and the nineteenth century Queen s Colleges of Cork  Belfast and Galway  which opened their collections to the public  but also the museums of long vanished institutions  such as Dublin s  Museum of Irish Industry. Scientific  medical  geological and artistic collections are described. Taking the story beyond mere collections  Bourke discusses the buildings which housed the collections  the people instrumental in collecting and administering the collections  events  such as nineteenth century industrial exhibitions  which provided an impetus  and the legislation and political policies which increasingly governed museum development from the nineteenth century  on. The story of Irish museums is a magnificent publication and lavish in its use of colour illustrations to support the text. That said  it is not without faults. It would have benefited from more careful copy editing. The text contains an unacceptable  and irritating number of typos and minor errors  which should have been identified and corrected  e.g. the Tara Brooch is described as  measuring just 2 cm from end to end   p.167 . There are also some odd statements which could lead to confusion. For example  the Department of Science and Art  1853 1899  was a government department and not part of the South Kensington Museum  p.109 . Again  the  Dublin Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853 is almost consistently referred to as  the Dublin International Exhibition of Art Industry   a title used by the Art Journal  of London in 1853 . More careful editing would also have eliminated a number of obvious errors which mar the very impressive and comprehensive bibliography. However  these are minor complaints in the wider context of what the author  has achieved. The value of this exceptionally wide ranging and accessible study lies in its fascinating and detailed narrative of how Irish museums were formed  and the diverse influences on their development over three hundred years. Marie Bourke s stated intention in this very comprehensive volume is to provide a multifaceted context within which future informed debate could show that  museums matter to society and encourage further research and scholarship. This task she completes with notable success. Her work not only contributes to our understanding of our museums and their history but will certainly stimulate further research.

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The Story of Irisj Museums brings together a wide March 15, 2012
Reviewer: Roisin Kennedy Burlington Magazine from Republic of Ireland  
The Story of Irisj Museums brings together a wide range of new and existing research  making extensive use of primary sources...its shear breadth of information makes The Story of Irish Museums a valuable reference book for educators  museum professionals and general readers seeking information on all aspects of the history of Irish museums and collections.

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This is another book for dipping into rather than February 20, 2012
Reviewer: Timothy Mason Museums Journal from Republic of Ireland  
This is another book for dipping into rather than a cover to cover read but don t let that put you off. In her meticulous book  Bourke picks her way through a history of steady development from 1790 to the present day This is a well illustrated book.

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This is a lavishly illustrated and prodigiously re January 31, 2012
Reviewer: John Reeve Journal of Education in Museums from Republic of Ireland  
This is a lavishly illustrated and prodigiously researched book that has been hailed as  the first synoptic history of museums in Ireland ; but this is museum history with a difference. As its title suggets  it is much about and education as it is about collecting and culture.

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The origins evolution and present condition of al September 29, 2011
Reviewer: Journal of the History of Collections from Republic of Ireland  
The origins  evolution and present condition of all types of collections in Ireland had not previously received much attention but they are now being recognized as ripe topics of research. In connection with this expanding interest Marie Bourke has produced the most ambitious work so far  the first synoptic history of museums in Ireland...The strength of the book is the overview it provides of its broad subject and it will be a valuable reference point for subsequent research...The strength of the book is the overview it provides of its broad subject and it will be a valuable reference point for subsequent research...The institutions  people and policies described and discussed will be familiar  but no one has delved as deeply into all three aspects as Bourke who sets out much valuable hard information. With the ground so helpfully cleared  the study of Irish museums can develop in many ways   8210; for example by examining the relationship of the newly independent but impecunious and introspective state to its cultural institutions in the 1920s and 1930s.

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This heavy tome is an ambitious undertaking cover September 6, 2011
Reviewer: John Mulcahy Irish Arts Review from Republic of Ireland  
This heavy tome is an ambitious undertaking  covering as it does the record of the establishment of the principal Irish museums interlaced with worthy discussions on the various roles of these institutions today: the role of education; the role of antiquarianism; the public role of the museum. Altogether it stretches to 560 pages  is profusely illustrated and thus will make a convenient reference in this area for libraries.

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The story of Irish museums as told by Marie Bourk August 17, 2011
Reviewer: Paula Murphy Irish Times from Republic of Ireland  
The story of Irish museums  as told by Marie Bourke in her new book is rich and complex. A publication of this nature is long overdue. The book is beautifully produced with a fine range of interesting and informative illustrations  valuable sub headings for quick reference to the extensive material and a helpful chronology.

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Marie Bourke s comprehensive work offers a detail March 1, 2011
Reviewer: Dr. Nichola Johnson Director Museum Leadership P from Republic of Ireland  
Marie Bourke s comprehensive work offers a detailed account of the history of Irish museums within the wider historical context of museum development and public policy elsewhere in Europe and America. She ably demonstrates that  far from their existing in a backwater  Irish institutions were sometimes very much at the cutting edge of intellectual practice. That she approaches her subject through the lens of changing attitudes towards the status  welfare and education of young people only adds weight to her argument that if museums are to have a justifiable future they ignore the needs of children at their peril.     This book makes a valuable contribution to the literature accompanying the growing interest in museum studies and training within Ireland and deserves to find its place in the context of museological literature as a whole.

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Dr. Marie Bourke has written a narrative account o February 15, 2011
Reviewer: Professor Declan Kiberd University College Dublin from Republic of Ireland  
Dr. Marie Bourke has written a narrative account of museums in Ireland  which is a valuable analysis  for not only does it offer the linked stories of institutions on an all island basis  but it places their development in the wider context of Britain  Europe and the United States. Dr Bourke s book is an imaginative challenge as well as a scholarly history.

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This important and ground breaking study places Ir February 15, 2011
Reviewer: Dr. Kent Lydecker Director Museum of Fine Arts from Republic of Ireland  
This important and ground breaking study places Irish museums in a comprehensive framework that is or real benefit to museum professionals on both sides of the Atlantic   and internationally.

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