The Little Museum of Dublin is a people’s museum of Dublin, situated at 15 St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland. The museum is located in an 18th-century Georgian town house owned by Dublin City Council.
As a civic museum for the city of Dublin, the Little Museum chronicles the history of the city in the 20th century. It provides visitors with an intimate and informative glimpse into life in Dublin during that time period. The Little Museum, the “brainchild” of director Trevor White and curator Simon O’Connor, was formed in April 2011 and officially opened its doors to the public in October of the same year. A registered charity, the museum is governed by a board that includes representatives of Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority.
The museum has a collection of over 5,000 artifacts that have been donated or loaned directly from the people of Dublin. It has three floors of exhibition space in the Georgian town home, one floor for office space, and an acclaimed Irish café, Hatch & Sons Irish Kitchen, in the basement. Areas of interest within the museum exhibitions include the 1916 Rising, U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Dublin, and many other landmark events in Irish political and social history. The museum also recently opened a new exhibit that focuses exclusively on the success of the rock band U2.
The museum also offers “I Love Dublin” classes for school children ages 6–17, and a tourist greeter program, City of a Thousand Welcomes. The program is a “civic initiative” that connects first time visitors to Dublin with a local ‘ambassador’ who welcomes them by taking them out for a cup of tea or a pint. During the outing the ambassadors tell their guests about the city and introduce them to Ireland’s “outstanding hospitality.” The program has been very successful so far; the Sydney Morning Herald describes it as “the best free thing to do in Europe”.
The museum received a new wave of publicity when it purchased an archive of work by artist and poet Christy Brown. As of March 19, 2014 the Little Museum and the National Library of Ireland were the proud joint owners of a collection that includes private letters and previously unseen sketches, paintings, and poems. The collection was sold by Bonhams in London for nearly 45,000 euro.
Patrons of the Little Museum include Dublin City Council, Dublin Regional Authority, Fáilte Ireland, the Merrion Hotel and Porterhouse Bars.
The Little Museum of Dublin tells the fascinating story of Dublin in the 20th Century. The backwater of an empire that became a booming European capital, Dublin went through a remarkable transformation in the last century. There was the violent birth of the Irish nation, the conservative years that followed, the false economic hope of the 1960’s and the explosive confidence of the 1990’s.
The museum was launched in 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects. The response to that appeal illustrates the generosity of the Irish people: today there are over 5,000 artefacts in the collection.
Named as “Dublin’s best museum experience” by the Irish Times, the Little Museum has been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Awards and has just been granted full charitable status. Children attend free civics classes here every morning, and our greeter programme, City of a Thousand Welcomes, has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “the best free thing to do in Europe.”
If you like the sound of what we’re doing, please visit the museum today. We look forward to seeing you soon.