‘Progression is Inclusion.’ Part 1.

Howdy there. Long time no see! How are you? Good? Bad? Don’t know?! Well anyway….I have been absent from my blog due to work and illness, but I’m now back with all guns or conservation brushes a blazing! 

Last weekend myself and a bunch of fellow museum enthusiasts/geeks/devotee’s (delete as appropriate) from the ‘NI & ROI Museum Professionals Network’ visited Dublin. We were on a ‘Conservation,Curatorial and Cultural Heritage’ Museum Trip. The aim of the trip was for members to meet one another, partake in workshops to heighten their museum skills and have great ‘craic’! What follows is the obligatory picture of Dublin:

Dublin; The River Liffey looking towards the Ha’Penny Bridge

The Four Courts.

Our first visit was to the Chester Beatty Library. The library is a collection of items that belonged to the rich Engineer Chester Beatty. The majority of the collection are works on paper, manuscripts, scrolls with some ornate textiles, armour and furniture. The main themes of the collections are European, Persian and Middle Eastern manuscripts as well as many items of Asian Origin.

We were given a tour by an expert tour guide who informed us of the history of paper, books and the written word. I learnt how the Middle Eastern world were the best paper makers and brought the idea of paper making to Europe. I also learnt how ancient Buddhist and Japanese scrolls were created which gave way to today’s modern books. There is a vast collection of ancient Quran’s (the Islamic holy Bible) and the oldest known version of the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

We then proceeded to have a workshop on preventative conservation given by the Head of Conservation, Jessica Baldwin. The workshop listed the causes and effects of conservation and how a conservator would correct these problems. I found this workshop interesting and informative. I came across types of pest damage and mould damage I haven’t came across working in conservation. I also learnt how to treat items effected by the illustrious silver fish! The workshop followed with a tour of the conservation studio at the Library. I was tres jealous of people getting to work in such an environment!


Chinese ‘bound feet’ shoes for females in the

Chester Beatty Conservation Lab.


Fashion Plates c 1910 – 1914, colleced by Chester Beatty’s

2nd Wife. Other versions of these fashion plates are on display 

in the library in the ‘Costumes Parisiens,’ exhibition.


Ancient Turkish Quran & Fashion plates.

We then proceeded on to Dublin Castle, which is situated in the same grounds as The Chester Beatty Library. Dublin Castle was the seat of power for the British run legislation until Irish independence in 1922. The site housed an original Norman then Medieval castle, but the round tower of the Medieval castle is all that remains. The castle was re-built in the Georgian style of the 18th Century and early 19th Century. However, it retained the name of ‘Dublin Castle.’

We took part in a workshop on evaluating what could be done better with the rooms open to the public in Dublin Castle. We were asked to be critical and provide answers under topics such as ‘What’s Good?’ and ‘Ideas for Improvement.’We were then ‘let loose’ on Dublin castle and it’s environs to find our answers. I shall be writing a separate blog post on this workshop as I have to much to write here. The blog post shall be ‘Part 2’ of the Dublin trip. Though here are some pictures from Dublin castle:


‘St. Patrick’s Hall.’


‘Dublin Castle Entrance.’


‘Dublin Castle South Entrance.’

After Dublin castle we had an excellent walking tour of Dublin city centre. The tour was hosted by Grainne of ‘Stroll With me Tours,’ which I highly recommend!We walked down Dame Street towards the old Houses of Parliament Buildings and into the main square of Trinity College. The tour was excellent and I learnt more about Dublin’s and consequently Ireland’s history than I had known before.

 We then proceeded to have dinner and a #drinkingaboutmuseums event in the Millstone Restaurant on Dame Street. The food and the ‘craic’ was excellent. Topics discussed ranged from museums, food and the ‘inclusion’ of minorities in Northern Ireland. The last topic of conversation bringing many laughs!





From top – bottom; Food Glorious Food!, Good Craic & ‘Progression is Inclusion!’

The following day brought us to The Little Museum of Ireland and a tour of it’s collection. This was coupled with a talk with the curator/facilities manager about what we thought of the museum and it’s collections. I shall write about this visit in my next blog post (as well as the workshop in Dublin Castle.)

Overall, the visits to the museums and heritage sites on the Saturday were very interesting and informative. I was able to explore sites I had never been to before in Dublin, whilst learning new methods of conservation and approaches to museum practice. My trip has definitely influenced me to go to Dublin more for museum trips!

All photos (c) Rachel Sayers 2013 unless stated/linked. 



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