Young Travellers Take Over Museum
On Friday 17 November Galway City Museum was successfully taken over by a group of young travellers from Galway City for Takeover Day 2017. This was the second year the museum has been involved in Takeover Day, a Kids in Museums initiative that celebrates young people’s contributions to museums, galleries, heritage sites and other cultural venues. It’s a day on which young people are given meaningful roles, working alongside staff and volunteers to participate in the life of the museum.
In collaboration with Ballybane Foróige Youth Project and Youth Work Ireland, Galway – Westside Youth Project, the museum engaged young Travellers in operation of the front desk, tour-guiding and curation of a museum showcase to reflect their individual and community identities. The participants from Ballybane outlined their reasons for being involved: “We are taking part because we want to teach other people about our culture. We are looking forward to teaching people about the Travelling community and to taking over the museum”. The project is jointly-funded through Galway City Council’s Creative Ireland programme and by Galway 2020 and the Galway Traveller Movement. Hannah Kiely, CEO of Galway 2020, says “Galway 2020 is delighted to be supporting the Galway City Museum Takeover Project. It is fantastic to see a group of young Travellers getting involved in and learning about cultural activities in the city.”
As part of their training for the day participants got a chance to visit other cultural venues in the city, including the Galway Civic Trust and the Town Hall Theatre, to learn about their roles and to see what happens behind the scenes. Annemarie McDonagh says: “Galway Traveller Movement are delighted to be part of this initiative and commend the work of the Museum in offering an opportunity to young members of the Traveller community to celebrate their ethnic identity in a public forum. Enabling cultural expression and embracing diversity can be used as a means to unite people and build bridges.”
Galway City Museum would like to thank all who showed their support on Takeover Day by dropping in and encouraging participants as they made such a positive contribution to the cultural life of the city. The museum staff have now taken back the reins but are looking forward to doing it all again next year!