Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, Hamden

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Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Ireland's Great Hunger Museum (Irish: Músaem An Ghorta Mhóir) is a museum of the Irish Great Hunger of 1845–1852 located in Hamden, Connecticut. Opened in 2012, the museum is part of Quinnipiac University. Exhibits focus on paintings and sculpture related to the Great Hunger. The mission of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is to collect, preserve, exhibit and study its collection of art, artifacts and literature related to the Irish Famine/Great Hunger that occurred from 1845 to 1852. In doing so, it seeks to educate audiences of all ages about the underlying political, social, economic and historic causes of the Great Hunger, and the magnitude of the disaster on Ireland and its people. The museum contains the world's largest collection of Great Hunger-related art by noted contemporary Irish and Irish American artists as well as a number of period paintings by some of Ireland's most important 19th-century artists.

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum preserves, builds and presents its art collection to stimulate reflection, inspire imagination and advance awareness of Ireland's Great Hunger and its long aftermath on both sides of the Atlantic.

Works by noted contemporary Irish artists are featured in the museum's permanent collection including internationally known sculptors John Behan, Rowan Gillespie and Éamonn O'Doherty; as well as contemporary visual artists, Robert Ballagh, Alanna O'Kelly, Brian Maguire and Hughie O'Donoghue. Featured paintings include several important 19th- and 20th‐century works by artists such as James Brenan, Daniel Macdonald, James Arthur O'Connor and Jack B. Yeats.

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University publishes a series of booklets called Famine Folios, a unique resource for students, scholars and researchers, as well as general readers, covering many aspects of the Famine in Ireland from 1845 to 1852 — the worst demographic catastrophe of 19th-century Europe. The essays are interdisciplinary in nature, and make available new research in Famine studies by internationally established scholars in history, art history, cultural theory, philosophy, media history, political economy, literature and music.

This publications initiative was devised to augment the museum experience, and is part of the museum's commitment to making its collection accessible to audiences of all ages and levels of educational interest. The pamphlets are produced to the highest level, beautifully illustrated with works from the museum and related collections. It ensures that audiences have access to the latest scholarship as it pertains to both the historical and contemporary dimensions of the collection.

A small sister gallery, containing literature and statues related to the famine, is located within a special section of the Arnold Bernhard Library on the Mount Carmel campus of Quinnipiac University itself.
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Ireland's Great Hunger Museum reviews

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  • Like any museum, the experience can be really enhanced by joining a guided tour. I visited the museum previously and walked through on my own - found that to be an okay experience. I went back with a....  more »
  • The Irish Great Hunger Museum, despite its modest size, is a vital historical resource. It received initial funded from Murray Lender, of Lender's Bagel fame. He grew up knowing the story of the...  more »
  • This museum is haunting and beautiful. A lot of thought went into this museum. Be sure to find out about the design of the museum itself and its correlation to the Hunger Ship. I could see traces of Game of Thrones inspiration in this history and artwork. I also appreciate how this museum not only tells the history of Ireland, but ties in history of England, India and the Choctaw tribe in Georgia. A Scottish man who felt the plight of Ireland so deeply that he became an Irish citizen painted a gorgeous painting expressing the grief of many, even the Holocaust. As much as I like to stay in a happy and positive environment, this museum is rich in history and I was glad I visited it. It was also nice that they displayed some happier art from before the famine.
  • Our LAOH group went here and received a docent-led tour of the museum. She was excellent and pointed out the many beautiful sculptures and artwork from both current day and art produced during the Great Hunger (1845-1852). Prior to going , I did not realize the historical impact of this tragic event.

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