Fota House

EXHIBITION OF POLISH HERO OF IRISH FAMINE AT IRISH HERITAGE TRUST PROPERTIES

The Irish Heritage Trust is to host the historical exhibition "A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine: Paul Strzelecki’s Struggle to Save Thousands" at its properties during the summer and autumn 2020.  This exhibition by the Polish Embassy in Dublin explores the fascinating life and achievements of one of the great humanitarians of the 19th century, whose contributions to Irish Famine relief have yet to be widely known and commemorated.  The tour of the exhibition begins at the National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park, Roscommon from 1st July to 4th August.  

“The Irish Heritage Trust is delighted to display this exhibition at the National Famine Museum and at our other historic properties in the summer and autumn; Fota House & Gardens, Cork  (15th August – 4th October) and Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum & Gardens, Wexford, (17th October – 29th November),” said Dr. Emma O’Toole, Collections & Interpretation Manager at the Irish Heritage Trust. The exhibition is in English and entrance is included in the entrance fee to the property.

Count Paul (Paweł) Strzelecki, a world-renowned Polish explorer and scientist, volunteered to work in Ireland to combat raging Famine over a three-year period (1847-49) as the main agent of the British Relief Association (B.R.A). Despite suffering from the effects of typhoid fever he contracted in Ireland, Strzelecki dedicated himself tirelessly to hunger relief. His commitment was widely recognized and praised by his contemporaries, and this exhibition endeavours to bring his achievements and legacy back into the public eye.

The content of the exhibition was commissioned by the Polish Embassy from leading experts in the field – Prof. Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast) and Assoc. Prof. Emily Mark-FitzGerald (University College Dublin) – and includes several rarely seen images of Famine relief and charity, drawn from collections of major museums and libraries in Ireland, Britain, Australia and the United States.

In order to alleviate the critical situation of famished Irish families and especially children, Strzelecki developed a visionary and exceptionally effective mode of assistance: feeding starving children directly through the schools. He extended daily food rations to schoolchildren across the most famine-stricken western part of Ireland, while also distributing clothing and promoting basic hygiene. At its peak in 1848, around 200,000 children from all denominations were being fed through the efforts of the B.R.A., many of whom would have otherwise perished from hunger and disease.

For information on other venues and dates visit www.strzelecki.ie.

 


Three people looking up at columns in hall at Fota House

Fota House Receives Museum Standards Award

FOTA HOUSE RECOGNISED FOR HIGH STANDARDS IN MUSEUM MANAGEMENT WITH TOP NATIONAL AWARD FROM THE HERITAGE COUNCIL OF IRELAND

Tuesday 30th June 2020: On the eve of re-opening Fota House, Cork on 1st July, the Irish Heritage Trust is pleased to announce that Fota House has been awarded full Museum Re-Accreditation in recognition of its high standards in museum management, collections care, education and visitor services. This is awarded by the Heritage Council of Ireland under its Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI).

Fota House is one of five Irish Museums to be re-accredited with the top award of Full Accreditation this year which requires complying with 34 standards under the MSPI. Four more Irish Museums will be awarded Full Accreditation. Fota House was awarded Full Museum Accreditation status in 2016 and has undergone a comprehensive assessment over the last year in order to maintain this status.

In receiving full Re-Accreditation, Fota House joins the distinguished list of sites and historic properties with full Museum Standards including Farmleigh House, (Dublin) Castletown House (Kildare), Muckross House (Killarney), Chester Beatty Library & National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin).

The MSPI was established by the Heritage Council of Ireland in 2006 to benchmark and promote professional standards in the care of collections and to recognise the achievement of those standards through the Irish museum sector. The programme recognises excellence in caring for collections, museum management, education, exhibition and visitor services

Speaking about the MSPI Re-Accreditation in advance of the re-opening of Fota House, Anne O’Donoghue, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust, which owns and cares for the property, commented:

“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to re-open the house in a safe manner for all to enjoy once again. The recent news of Museum status from the Heritage Council is a very welcome boost for our team who have worked very hard on the detailed process to attain and maintain this prestigious award. We are delighted that Fota House will offer a new art tour that will highlight our unique art collection, and showcase new acquisitions and temporary exhibitions.”

Speaking about the Fota collection and the importance of this Museum Standards Award, the Irish Heritage Trust’s Collections and Interpretation Manager, Dr Emma O’Toole said:

“Achieving full Re-Accreditation under The Heritage Council of Ireland’s Museum Standards Programme marks a significant milestone for Fota House. It is the culmination of years of work by the Irish Heritage Trust team, by improving our visitor experience through exhibitions, new acquisitions, and conservation projects. Fota House and its collection are of local and national importance, and it is through participating in the MSPI that we have enhanced our ability to preserve and protect these collections for future generations”.

Commenting on the Re-Accreditation achievement, the MSPI Assessor stated: “It is very encouraging to see ongoing progress as the Irish Heritage Trust continues to apply and invest in standards underpinning the MSPI programme. Particularly evident is a strong emphasis on the quality of visitor experience, and a high standard in volunteer management, both of which are contributing greatly to the sustainability of Fota House, with a growing number and range of volunteers…These strengths are supported by a core of excellent collections management and care, underpinning the richness of the offer at Fota House. It is particularly heartening to hear about new acquisitions relating to the history of Fota House, adding depth to the authenticity of the interpretation”.

For more details about Fota House’s re-opening, please click here: https://fotahouse.com/house-reopening/


FOTA HOUSE AWARDED MUSEUM ACCREDITATION

The Trust was honoured with Full  Museum Accreditation for Fota House during the summer of 2016. This is the result of over five years of hard work at Fota and means that nine years after the Irish Heritage Trust took responsibility for the house, it is now a house with Full Museum Status.

This Accreditation takes about five years to achieve all the standards. It is officially part of the Museum Standards Programme of Ireland (MSPI), which is run by The Heritage Council.  The awards’ adjudication was announced at a ceremony in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin on the 4th of July by the Chairman of The Heritage Council, Mr. Conor Newman.

The Heritage Council Assessors reported: “There is a strong visitor focus with the provision of an excellent guided tour, an informative, lively and current website, high quality printed materials and a good range of formal and informal learning opportunities for schools, families and lifelong learners. The Irish Heritage Trust clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to the Fota House volunteers, with training, CPD and good communications. Fota House is particularly strong on collections care and has very quickly established and implemented good practice from scratch.  Since applying for Interim Accreditation, a new post of Museums Standards and Property Care has been established at Fota House which shows the Irish Heritage Trust’s commitment to attaining and maintaining the standards of the MSPI”.

Fota House was one of seven of Ireland’s museums to be awarded the top standard of Full Accreditation in 2016, which requires complying with all 34 designated standards under the MSPI. Of the 57 participants in the programme, 29 museums have achieved Full Accreditation and 11 others have been awarded Interim Accreditation.