On Sunday 2nd December 1973, Carlow County Museum opened its doors for the first time in the grounds of the old Academy here on College Street, now the Cathedral Parish Centre.
– (l to r) coverage of the opening of Carlow County Museum in the Nationalist newspaper, December 1973
Opening at weekends, it was staffed on a voluntary basis by members of the Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society (until 2001 known as The Old Carlow Society). In November 1979 the society obtained a lease from Carlow Town Council of the Concert Room of the Town Hall in Haymarket, which was to become the home of the museum for the next twenty years.
When the lease on the Concert Room expired in the late 1990s the next stage of the museum development was agreed under which the artefacts collected by the society , which by then numbered several thousand, were transferred to the custody of the Town Council who in turn undertook to provide a permanent base for the museum
In January 2002, with the agreement of the Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society (CHAS), Carlow Town Council took over the operations of the Museum, which from this point was operated on a professional basis. The objective of moving to a permanent, purpose-built premises was achieved when the new Carlow County Museum opened in April 2012 in our current home, the former Presentation Convent in College Street.
Acknowledging the important role of CHAS in developing and operating the museum for nearly thirty years and to continue their input into the Museum, the Board of Carlow County Museum Board was established in 2005. It consists of seven members, three Members of Carlow County Council, three representatives of CHAS and the Chief Executive’s nominee with the Museum Curator acting as secretary to the Board. The Board of Carlow County Museum is responsible for the preparation and approval of policies, strategies and mission statement to be implemented by the museum. All of these require the final approval of Carlow County Council. The Chairpersonship of the Board rotates on an annual basis between the Council members and the CHAS Representatives. Our present Chairperson is Cllr. Ken Murnane.
The role of Carlow County Museum, like all county museums, is to collect, preserve, conserve, document and display the history of the County. County/ City Museums are significant in that they are a home for a county’s many historic treasures and maintain high standards of collection care. County/ City Museums are operated and funded by Local Authorities and are staffed by professional museum personnel.
Why not visit Carlow County Museum this winter? Situated in Carlow’s Cultural Quarter, just off the town’s main street, your local, award-winning Museum spans four galleries and has a wide collection of items and artefacts from Carlow county. Following Covid-19 guidelines pre-booking is required via 059-9131554 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, please see our new website at https://carlowmuseum.com/