Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum is home to an expanding collection of original art dating from the 19th century through the present day. Works by noted contemporary Irish and American artists are featured, as well as a number of important earlier works. The museum offers a unique opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to begin to explore the hitherto largely unrepresented, unspoken and unresolved causes and consequences of this tragedy, as well as to appreciate the art that continues to be inspired by it.
In addition to the artwork on display in the museum, Quinnipiac University houses a significant collection of artifacts and printed materials relating to the starvation that occurred throughout Ireland from 1845–52 and the forced emigration during these years and beyond. This collection, available in the Lender Family Special Collection Room at the University’s Arnold Bernhard Library, includes some 350 volumes on the actual Famine period and others focusing on peripheral issues that helped shape the events surrounding the tragedy. “The creation of this extraordinary collection is a fitting tribute to the lives of the more than 1.5 million Irish people who died prematurely, painfully and needlessly during Ireland’s Great Hunger,” said Drew University Professor Christine Kinealy on the occasion of the opening of the Lender Family Special Collection Room.
Some of these volumes are extremely rare and were written at or close to the time of the Great Hunger. Others include tragic and moving accounts and personal recollections taken from letters and diaries of the period. Present-day authorities and scholars, historical novels, essays and personal reflections contribute to the record. Quinnipiac University continues to build on this valuable resource for scholarly research and for educating people on the reality and implications of this tragic period in human history.
Photographs by Robert Benson Photography, courtesy of Wyeth Architects LLC and Group C Inc.