There are museums that move you and spark imagination. And there are others that are simply awe inspiring and powerful. Occasionally there are some that are simply in need of an overhaul. New museums at this point in time when technology, digital, social and virtual reality are exploding need to reach forward at the same time as they harken back to capture history.
Epic Museum Dublin, currently the world’s only fully digital museum, bridges past and present and bursts forth in a dynamic multi-sensory experience that is entirely unique and inspiring.
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In Dublin’s Docklands
Epic Museum Dublin is without a doubt one of the most memorable, impressive museum experiences I have ever had. Featuring the story of Irish emigration throughout the world, Epic Museum Dublin is a stunning marriage of art, technology, architecture and multi-media. The world’s only fully digital museum is located in Dublin’s Docklands.
Inside the Custom House Quay Building in one of Dublin’s most historic areas on the banks of the River Liffey on Custom, Epic is in a building formerly known as Stack A, or the Tobacco Store. The original building was built around 1817 to store tobacco, tea and alcohol. Designed by the Scottish engineer John Rennie and his son, this industrial masterpiece had the largest pre-20th century clear floor space in Dublin. Claim to fame at that time was sealed when it hosted the Crimean War Banquet in 1856, celebrating the return of 3,000 Irish soldiers.
In the early 2000’s, the building was restored. In 2013, Neville Isdell, of Irish descent, a former chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, bought the building. His vision was to open it as a museum exploring Ireland’s contributions to the world stage and the impact that Irish emigration had on the globe.
Set Foot Inside
From the moment you set foot inside this beautifully imagined space you know you are in for a treat. Technology and reflective surfaces pull you right into history and make you an actor within the Irish emigration script. It’s an incredible journey to take.
Who Was the First Ever Irish Emigrant?
Follow along as you discover personal stories beginning with that of the first ever emigrant Annie Moore, who came to America through Ellis Island, New York, was given $10 for her trouble and went on to have 15 children. Epic Museum touches on Irish emigration and the impact on history, art, politics, music, sport, science and fashion globally.
Did you know 70 million people in the world right now claim Irish heritage? Epic Museum Dublin leads you on a journey through history detailing why 10 million Irish people left their homes to build lives elsewhere.
Enter through what appears to be a subway platform type turnstile entryway and take a museum passport with you to get it stamped in each of the 20 galleries inside. Fun little interactive portion of the museum that everyone can get into.
Vibrant Colours and Multi-Media
The piece above is one of the first things you see. Vibrant colours, media, and contrasting surfaces all are used to build stories. Every single gallery is incredibly impressive, but when you finish and reflect on the whole project as one cohesive unit, it’s even more intense and memorable. Every room, every gallery, piece, and indeed every brick within this gorgeous museum is here as a part of the greater narrative.
What Contemporary Museums Do Well
One of the things I appreciate the most about contemporary museums is the attention to detail. Symbolism and metaphor meet you the moment you enter the lengthy hallway entrance at Epic Museum. Cool brick surfaces seemingly impersonal, create the base for the entryway. Add a hall with shiny reflective surfaces that casts your image back at you. On the opposite wall, an image of a crowd of strangers travel with you into a cold new space. The feel is precise and very intentional. You are history and you are now part of the Epic Museum story.
The Flow and Experience
This movement of people throughout the museum could intentionally mimic a walk on the galley of a boat, the tunnels beneath a subway platform, or perhaps even a railway station. It becomes whatever you imagine. The point is to see yourself there and imagine your role in history.
I am not Irish, but my husband and his mother’s family were Irish. Indeed I am not one of those people driven by ancestry and the search for family trees and deceased relatives. But still this experience was one I could relate to and enjoy fully. In fact you will be surprised learning just how many famous writers, athletes and politicians are of Irish descent.
Of course, we all know of John F. Kennedy and the Irish ancestry that famous president and his family can claim. But did you also know that other US presidents with Irish ancestry include: Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan and more? As for Canada, well when the Irish first settled in Canada they began their new lives near Quebec City. Even still, Irish are the second largest ethnic group in Quebec.
The Irish Emigration Museum is a museum that almost didn’t happen. For years the plans were to build this museum as a public museum, but public money didn’t follow and the idea floundered for a time. Then the private funder stepped in with his vision. An advisory board was formed to give input into the final shape that Epic Museum would take.
Thankfully, this was completed because it really needs to be seen by everyone.
This is no ordinary museum. It’s a museum that should in fact be a model inspiring others to grow into the future and be more accessible to a wider community.
It’s difficult to explain how moving this museum is, but it is really a gorgeous experience that is powerful and beautiful. Epic is a museum you need to see when in Dublin. It is the perfect combination of art, history and technology to draw people right into the experience of Irish emigration throughout the years.
My Favourite of all the Irish Museums We Toured
In fact Epic Museum is my personal favourite of all the museums we toured in Dublin while visiting on a media trip recently. I consider this one of my top twenty museums globally.
Of course The Louvre is one of the world’s most iconic museums and the 911 Memorial Museum New York is incredibly moving and powerful.
And personally I love the Canadian History Museum in Gatineau because I am Canadian and also because it is simply beautiful and exceptionally well curated.
And there are of course a few iconic museums I am willing to admit I have not yet seen. The Smithsonian is one, as is The Hermitage, in Russia. But Epic, in my opinion, can stand to be in the same paragraph with these more established museums. Its creativity alone makes it truly remarkable.
Epic The Irish Emigration Museum should be visited, experienced and felt by everyone who passes through Dublin. It is larger than life, well designed and executed.
I was super impressed with the many uses of reflective surfaces and technology here to make every person feel they are a piece of the story. In fact you will be astonished at the number of people with Irish heritage. When you pass through the galleries it may shock you to learn many Presidents and Canadian Prime Ministers have Irish heritage.
This Will Be One of Your New Favourites
This is a world class example of where museums should be headed in future years. High points for interactivity and use of technology. Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum is hands down one of my favourites anywhere in the world.
The Irish Family History Centre is located in the EPIC gift shop, so it’s the perfect place to drop into after your museum tour to trace your family ancestry or pick up a souvenir. Don’t miss this museum when in Dublin. It’s more than worth the price to enter.
ORDER Your Epic Museum Tickets Now Before You Go – > http://tidd.ly/37a05702
The Details About Epic The Irish Emigration Museum
Ways to See Ireland and these Museums Mentioned Here
Get An Amazing 3 Day New York Trip Here – > 3 Days in New York to see the 911 Museum Yourself.
Don’t Miss the Game of Thrones Dublin Winterfell Trek. I am doing this next time I visit Ireland.
Also A Three Day Southern Ireland Tour is More than worth the money – >
I was a guest of Failte Ireland on a media trip and as such received admission, travel, food and accommodations. This post may also contain an affiliate link as a service to readers.