Rising centenary project at risk in row over museum name

Minister says he will not fund development if it is not called the ‘Tenement Museum’

New plans by Dublin County Council hope to reveal the changing functions of the Georgian houses on Henrietta Street through a new heritage museum. Olivia Kelly reports. Video: Enda O’Dowd

 

Funding for one of the Government’s seven “flagship” 1916 Rising commemorative projects could be at risk due to a dispute over its name.

Minister of State for Heritage Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said he will not support funding for a museum at 14 Henrietta Street, a Georgian house owned by Dublin City Council, if it is not called the “Tenement Museum”.

The council is calling the museum, due to open to the public at the beginning of next year, the 14 Henrietta Street Townhouse Museum.

“It has come to my attention that there has been a concerted attempt to rebrand the tenement museum as the ‘townhouse museum’,” Mr Ó Ríordáin said.

“This project is telling the story of tenement life, of the cramped conditions of poverty and disease, of the social history of that period in Dublin life. Any attempt to deviate from that story will not be entertained.”

Stabilisation work

Luke GardinerViscount Molesworth

In the early 1800s it became offices for the legal profession, before becoming a tenement in the 1880s, which it remained for almost 100 years.

The council undertook stabilisation work in 2009 to prevent its collapse, but otherwise it has remained in a condition similar to when it was vacated in the 1970s.

Last May the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht announced funding of €1.5 million for a “Tenement Museum” at the house.

Council heritage officer Charles Duggan said the tenement museum had been a working title, never an official title.

“Calling it the tenement museum does not tell the full expanse of the story of the house and its decline as the home of the ruling elite to the home of the urban poor.”