Our CEO, Iseult Byrne, reflects on 14 Henrietta Street winning the prestigious Silletto Prize at the European Museum of The Year 2020 awards.
The Silletto Prize
The Silletto Prize is presented as part of the European Museum Forum’s annual European Museum of The Year Awards, which support, encourage, award and showcase excellence and innovation in the museum field. It’s sponsored by the Silletto Trust and goes to a museum which has demonstrated excellence in involving its local community in planning and developing museum and heritage projects.
The local community is at the heart of everything we do at 14 Henrietta Street so this is an especially meaningful award for us.
14 Henrietta Street is a place inspired and informed by Dublin, its history and its people.
This is a win for the city as much as it is a win for the museum. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to making the museum what it is today, to Dublin City Council for their commitment to preserving this building for the people of our city, and to our staff, tour guides, visitors and many supporters, particularly the historians and former tenement residents who have helped us to share these stories with such passion.
14 Henrietta Street
14 Henrietta Street was the only Irish nomination among the 60 nominees, and to receive the Silletto Prize is a momentous achievement for the team at the museum.
14 Henrietta Street is not a museum in the traditional sense. The building and the lives lead within it are considered the primary artefact in the collection, the layers of history are visible on the walls and tell the story of the lives of the former residents of the house. Oral histories generously shared by former residents of 14 Henrietta Street and other nearby tenements, contributed to, and now feature as part of the guided tours. By listening and talking with visitors, historians, local residents, the local community and through the knowledge of others, we continue to discover new stories, gather memories and add to the museum’s collection and visitor experience.
Our people-centred governance approach really underpins all of the work that we do at 14 Henrietta Street and the people who lived in the house are at the centre of the experience here. We’re inspired by them, by the beautiful house itself, and the social relationship with our city.
Culture plays a huge role in our recovery post Covid, and through our connection to culture and our communities, I believe we will become stronger together.
The work that continues at 14 Henrietta Street is testament to the importance of collective memory.
The best way for us to celebrate this award will be to reopen our doors to visitors which we will do as soon as the guidelines permit guided tours. We’ve been busy planning a Georgian Walking Tour due to launch in June, and we’re also delighted to announce the [publication of three books] which delve into the different eras of the house. These publications are a huge project for us at the museum and we are so proud of the work of the authors, designers and team that brought them to life.
We will also, of course, be busy getting the house ready for welcoming you all back soon. We’re so looking forward to continue to share the stories of the house and all the people it represents with you all.
CEO, Dublin City Council Culture Company
14 Henrietta Street is experienced by guided tours. We will open booking as soon as government restrictions are lifted but you can also pre-book a tour now, for dates beginning in August.
You can also engage with the museum through its online series of fortnightly talks Teatime Talks, three new publications launching this month, online teaching resources, and new walking tours coming soon.