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The exhibitions aim to show the social, historical, political and artistic development of modern Ireland through the lives of the generations

However, I never felt that they did more than was expected of them.

CLEANLINESS AND MAINTENANCE The museum itself is well maintained with the exception of the restrooms, which at the time of my visit were in need of some slight attention. According to the hourly checklist, it had been about four hours since the last inspection of the bathrooms that day. Granted, the day we visited wasn’t that busy, but there’s still a level of comfort missing when the bathrooms haven’t been checked for a few hours. The grounds of the cemetery around

the museum and entry plaza are very well maintained. In fact, they’re the best main- tained areas of the gardens and plots in the cemetery. As we walked further into the grounds, to the older area of the cemetery, weeds and toppled headstones became more of the norm.

VALUE FOR MONEY Glasnevin is a half museum at best, so charging a full admission seems steep.

MY EXPERIENCE My family and I arrived at Glasnevin about 90 minutes before the museum was sched- uled to close so had missed the guided tour of the cemetery. We took about 30 minutes to tour the grounds of the cem- etery, taking in the tribulations and shrines that the loved ones of the dearly departed had created on the graves. After admiring the tomb of Daniel O’Connell and touching his coffi n for good

AM 4 2011 ©cybertrek 2011

luck, we went to the museum itself where the journey begins in the basement. Multi-media displays, touch-screen

kiosks, fi lms and projections are used in a very engaging way to tell the story of Glasnevin, the evolution of burial practices and the role burial plays in numerous reli- gions of the world. This was my favourite part of the museum. It was the most crea- tive and informative without feeling forced and immersive. It was clearly where most of the money for creating displays in the museum had been spent. To get to the second gallery of the museum we had to take an elevator up to the second fl oor gallery. The standard elevator is a jarring reminder of the reality of the real world that ruins the fl ow of the story being told by the museum’s displays. While I understand that the creators of the museum were limited on space, the eleva- tor is a missed opportunity that could have bridged the story being told in the fi rst gal- lery to the story of Daniel O’Connell being told in the second gallery. In the second gallery, money and ideas

seem to have fallen short. The informa- tion presented is fascinating, however the free-fl ow and excessively open design of the space causes any further story telling, and cohesiveness of the museum overall, to suffer. If the architecture of the space wasn’t so sparse and lacking the creativity of the fi rst gallery, I probably wouldn’t have come out of the elevator with the impres- sion that this gallery is a work in progress. In the fi rst gallery the story is linear and is told as you progress through the space. The

lack of a formal path in the second galley left me feeling unsure of what to do. It was only when I discovered that the tables along the perimeter of the space were interac- tive kiosks highlighting O’Connell’s life, and how it impacted the development of modern Ireland, that I was able to tie the story of the two galleries together. There’s also an interactive table display

that uses famous people throughout history and lineage lines to visually show that we are all somehow related to each other. I suppose this was the museum designer’s attempt to lead the visitor into the last gallery of the museum – the Genealogy Research Lab. But this connection suffers due to a lack of struc- tured pathway through the space. Overall, I did enjoy my visit to Glasnevin;

the negative points I experienced weren’t enough to dampen my visit. However, as it’s currently presented, I don’t feel that there’s a compelling reason to go back. ●

Daniel Melvold, project manager and show producer

, worked for Disney for seven years and is a member of TEA





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