14 Henrietta Street has been nominated for the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award and will vie with 60 museums across Europe for the title.
The museum is the only Irish nomination for the European Museum Forum’s EMYA 2020 awards.
The EMF / EMYA is concerned with developing the quality of European museums. The EMYA is awarded to a museum that contributes most directly to attracting audiences and satisfying its visitors with a unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation, and presentation, along with a creative approach to education and social responsibility. The competition is open to new museums that have opened to the public in the past three years, or an established museum that has completed a substantial programme of modernisation, extension, re-organisation or re-interpretation during the past three years.
Opened in September 2018, 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin’s museum of social history, tells the story of the building’s shifting fortunes through 300 years of city life: from one building’s Georgian beginnings to its tenement times, connecting the history of urban life to the stories of the people who called the building home.
The museum is owned and conserved by Dublin City Council and is operated by the Dublin City Council Culture Company. Commenting, chief executive of Dublin City Council Culture Company, Iseult Byrne said: “We are absolutely delighted with this European Museum of the Year Award nomination as it really speaks to the ethos of 14 Henrietta Street. At 14 Henrietta Street we protect, share and add to the cultural life of the city, by telling stories, making new connections and uncovering further stories and histories of the house. “
14 Henrietta Street is not a museum in the traditional sense. The building is considered the primary artefact, and the layers of history are visible on the walls, and tell the story of the lives of the former residents of the house. Access to the house is by intimate guided tour, which allows visitors to ask questions and to share their memories – meaning no two tours are the same. The majority of our visitors have memories of the house itself or the historical period covered in the tours, so they can often offer our guides the opportunity to learn through talking and listening, bringing to life the stories of the humans who passed through the house, their changing circumstances, their experience of family life, of politics, and the impact of world affairs.
She added: “It’s hard to believe that we only opened to the public 15 months ago. Since then, we have welcomed more than 40,000 visitors from Dublin and further afield; we have built on our tour offering; we have developed our knowledge through our ongoing social and historical research and the ‘Your Tenement Memories’ projects, and commissioned further social history & historical research corresponding to the key eras of the history of the house. By listening and talking with visitors, historians, local residents and their families and through the knowledge of others, the museum continues to discover new stories, gathering memories and adding to the museum’s collection and visitor experience. We would like to thank all of our team and visitors for making 2019 an outstanding year for the museum and we share this prestigious nomination with them”.
14 Henrietta Street highlights of 2019 also include the launch of the MUSEUM book of poetry and photography by Paula Meehan and Dragana Jurisic, which was inspired by the house; the broadcast of RTÉ Radio 1’s Ryan Tubridy Show from 14 Henrietta Street, and the neighbours’ day we hosted for the local community to mark our first anniversary. 14 Henrietta Street also won the ‘Best Conservation / Restoration Project’ and ‘Best Overall Project’ categories at the RIAI Irish Architectural Awards 2018, which is in the running for the Europa Nostra European Heritage Days Stories Award 2020, and was awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2019. It was also shortlisted for Best Dublin Tourism Experience (under 100,000 visitors) at the 2019 Irish Tourism Awards..”
Owen Keegan, Chief Executive from Dublin City Council added: “14 Henrietta Street was in a derelict state when Dublin City Council undertook to save and renovate it. Work was carried out over a 10-year period to stabilise, preserve and restore the building and then our attention turned to the question of how to create a really fantastic experience for visitors. We are so proud of what has produced and the interest Dubliners and overseas visitors alike have taken in this museum.”
The European Museum of the Year Award will be announced at the Forum’s conference in Cardiff in May 2020. Other museums vying for the title include Anne Frank House in Amsterdam; the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburg, and the Museum of Secret Surveillance ‘House of Leaves’, Tirana. Further details on the awards and a full list of the nominees can be found on the European Museum Forum website.
14 Henrietta Street is only accessible by guided tour, which takes place on the hour, five days a week, from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday to Saturday and from noon to 4 pm on Sundays. Tickets cost €9 adult / €6 concession and are available on the 14 Henrietta Street website. Advance booking is recommended. Group bookings are available.