GAA Museum adapting to deliver new initiatives
By Cian O’Connell
Throughout the world ways of adapting to the current circumstances continue to be found.
The GAA Museum’s doors have been shut for more than two months now, but that hasn’t stopped the planning and plotting behind the scenes.
Several initiatives are set to be implemented in the coming days and weeks with GAA Museum Director Niamh McCoy hugely encouraged about what is about to unfold.
“The museum closed on March 11, since then we've been trying to share our museum content online and across the Croke Park social media channels,” McCoy says.
“We just want to engage with audiences, to keep the museum open, but in a different way.
“The museum has a wealth of material between our collection and also the GAA archives. It is an opportunity to showcase them and to give people a glimpse into the rich collection we have.”
While the Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy Cups gather significant attention other items of note are sprinkled throughout the building.
“Obviously in terms of the collection we have the original Sam and Liam,” she adds. “Everyone knows Sam and Liam. In addition to Sam and Liam we have other artefacts that are equally worth showcasing.
“We would call them the secret treasures and we are going to show them over the next eight weeks, the really interesting artefacts that we have.
“We have a New York jersey from 1927, we have Sam Maguire's pocket watch, and I love personal artefacts that belong to people. I think there is something very poignant about that. It is beautiful, a lovely watch. So we have lots of pieces like that.
“Over the next eight weeks we have different campaigns lined up. One of them is secret treasures, to try to highlight artefacts things we have or even a team we might love, and to share them with people online. We think people are engaging more with social media and online while they have been at home.”
Without live sport in Ireland, nostalgia has dominated the agenda and that is something that will be part of another ‘Match Programme Monday’ campaign by the GAA Museum.
“Our archivist Adam has gone through the archives, he has selected some match programmes we are going to share,” McCoy reveals.
“People love looking back at the different style of programmes. How the design and artwork has changed through the decades. They really create a sense of nostalgia, you have so many people who are collectors of match programmes.
The June Bank Holiday is almost here. As we continue to stay home, our #GAAMuseum have a challenge for you! We're all missing the #GAA action so we're asking you to recreate your favourite GAA moments. Have some fun with it and tag your best effort using #RecreateTheGAAGreats. pic.twitter.com/ImNkjsWpOS— Croke Park (@CrokePark) May 29, 2020
“We know that they create a buzz online when we share them. We have got a lot of them coming up over the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see whether anyone shares their collection at home, what they have.
"Hopefully we will be reopening later this summer, and people might decide to come into visit, to see it for themselves.”
Eager to engage the public the GAA Museum also want people to submit videos recreating landmark moments in the Recreate the GAA Greats project.
Creative replies are expected according to McCoy. “What we want people to do is to recreate the GAA greats, we are a museum, we tell the story of the GAA's history,” she states.
“We thought with that campaign it could be great moments or great scores, a great person you admire. We are challenging people to create their own favourite piece of GAA history. Just to film it on their phone, then to share it on social media using #GAAMuseum.
“Our team are going to create a few videos just to give an example. One of our team Julianne came up with this idea and when we were talking as a team we were thinking somebody could recreate Joe Connolly's speech or Babs Keating playing in his bare feet.
“Just a real moment in the GAA, something everyone would remember. It is a nice way to engage with the GAA audience while everyone is on lockdown and at home.”