MEETINGS have taken place between staff at the Cork Public Museum and the Tourism Directorate of Cork City Council in a bid to increase footfall at the museum.
Elected members of Cork City Council have repeatedly called for more to be done with the Fitzgerald’s Park museum, with some even suggesting that it should be relocated to the city centre to be better integrated into the city’s tourism offering.
While the relocation of the museum has been ruled out by city tourism officials, there has been an acknowledgement that more needs to be done to enhance the offering and increase the number of people accessing the facility.
Independent councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy dismissed suggestions that the museum should be moved and instead called for the better integration of the facility into its surroundings.
“I think it is in a great location in Fitzgerald’s Park and the Mardyke,” he said.
“Neaby is UCC, the banks of the Lee walkway, Sunday’s Well boating and tennis club, Cork Cricket Club, the Shaky Bridge, Cork City Gaol Heritage Centre, Lifetime Lab and the Lee Fields. This really is a beautiful quarter of the city which the City Council and other agencies need to promote more.
“In 2019, the Mardyke walk will be 300 years old and if we are unable to promote the stories of three centuries in this part of town then there is a major problem in how we approach our heritage.”
Mr McCarthy said that increasing footfall at the museum is ‘essential.’
“There is no doubt in my mind that the museum is a professionally run operation within the City Council remit. The museum over several years now has been developing and hosting great exhibitions, has pursued best practice, made connections with the archaeology department of UCC, and has attempted to engage the public.
“But like all things heritage in the city, more money needs to be invested in publicising the various exhibitions and the public relations surrounding such exhibitions.”
The Independent councillor, who frequently leads historical walks through the city with tourists and engages with schools throughout the city and county, said that the city has not maximised the promotion of the museum to date.
“We haven’t maximised its potential to work with city schools and heritage organisations,” he said.
“The museum needs an educational officer, a digital development officer; some of its projects need to be photographed and collections need to be digitised and placed online.
“It seems the museum is understaffed. There is essentially one very enthusiastic staff officer doing everything from admin to exhibition preparation. This has a huge effect on limiting the potential of the site.”