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    Introduction: Ireland's new ethnographic horizons

    Garvey, Pauline and O Siochain, Seamas and Drazin, Adam (2012) Introduction: Ireland's new ethnographic horizons. In: Exhibit Ireland: ethnographic collections in Irish museums. Wordwell, Dublin, Ireland, pp. 1-22. ISBN 9781905569533

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    An appropriate entry point to our discussion of ethnographic collections in Ireland is the remarkable history of an assemblage of non-European ethnographic artefacts housed in the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), Dublin. The 12,500 artefacts from the Pacific, the Americas and Mrica are described as 'one of the finest collections of that kind in the world' (Hart 1995, 36). In contrast to a parallel collection in the Ulster Museum, Belfast, which for some time has been drawn on for exhibitions, this collection has been out of view for a considerable period. Indeed, William Hart writes that '[t]he Mrican collections of the National Museum of Ireland are one of its bestkept secrets' (ibid., 36). One of its constituent units-the O'Beirne Collection-'has never been on view to the public' and has been 'totally forgotten' (ibid.). While these collections have been largely kept in crated storage from 1979 to 2002, a permanent exhibition space is now being planned. This unveiling of an extensive collection in the National Museum comes at a time of extensive rethinking of ethnography and its artefacts-both nationally and internationally, academically and in practice. And though ethnographic exhibitions are not an uncommon presence in many European capitals, in Ireland the disclosure of this 'absent presence' (Buchli and Lucas 2001) suggests a potentially fruitful medium to refract shifting identities within the island of Ireland.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: Ireland; new ethnographic horizons; ethnographic collections, irish museums;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 3534
    Depositing User: Dr Pauline Garvey
    Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2013 11:16
    Publisher: Wordwell
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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