The detailed model ship created by Lisburn man Werner Geyer and the new mural recently added to the Museum’s Famine Exhibition Gallery.

Museum opens a window to history

“It really brings the journey people took alive for those looking at it today,” says Cavan County Museum Curator Savina Donohoe of recent enhancements and instalments to the Famine Exhibition Gallery.

Earlier this year the museum commissioned Lisburn man Werner Geyer to create a detailed model famine ship.

Werner is renowned as a creative model ship builder, with his prior work on display in museums across the country, including at the Dun Laoghaire National Maritime Museum.

The ship Werner built for the museum is the type used at the time of the emigration in the mid 1800s when there was a pandemic in Ireland. Remarkably, now approximately 173 years later, Werner delivered his commission at a time when the country was contending with another pandemic.

The level of detail is incredible, states Savina, who more recently had a mural depicting a seascape painted onto one of the exhibition area walls.

Every addition has been thought through thoroughly by Savina and historian, Dr Michael Finnegan.

A ticket booth, similar to those used by those leaving Ireland, provides a unique element of interactivity similar to the Somme trench and 1916 Rising exhibitions.

Savina and Michael are also now awaiting the loan of several artefacts for display from Strokestown House.

“A lot of work has been done. It’s a work in progress. There is work going on both inside and outside,” adds Savina, acknowledging recent investment in developing both the Peace Garden and the Nuns Walk areas.

Of the latter, the museum has commissioned a series of panels to be installed along the walk, with information ranging from the native flora and fauna walkers might encounter, to the history of the former Poor Clares Convent, and how the museum itself came to being.

The project was overseen by Gary Martin.

“We have 15 panels. They’ll be up before Christmas. There is a lot of history here, on this site. The museum didn’t just happen here. There is a big history here even before then,” says Savina.

“Michael does great work at that, breaking down the information and relaying it in an engaging manner. Our thinking in the Famine gallery for instance, when we got funding for it, was how could we better create space for visitors in the present climate to move around, and at the same time open a window into the history that’s there, and a sense of what happened, what people actually went through.”