'An opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements,' Tipperary Museum curator

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements for Tipperary Museum curator Marie McMahon     

Tipperary County Museum of Hidden History curator Marie McMahon from Clonmel

The extraordinary lives of local women who left their mark in a range of fields are celebrated at Tipperary County Museum of Hidden History, which is managed by Marie McMahon.

The museum at Mick Delahunty Square in Clonmel is usually a host venue for International Women’s Day cultural events but unfortunately that wasn’t possible this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions that have closed all museums.

Marie said last year The Finding Voices Concert Series in Clonmel - which showcases the music of women composers - hosted a talk at the museum for International Women’s Day on the fascinating life of Clonmel born musician, writer and activist, Maud MacCarthy.

She hopes the museum will once again be a venue for such local International Women’s Day events next year.

Marie said it was important to support local women’s contributions to Tipperary’s business, arts, culture, heritage and community life. International Women’s Day was an ideal opportunity to celebrate and shine a light on their achievements big and small.

As managing curator of Tipperary Museum of Hidden History, the Clonmel woman is one of a number of female leaders promoting the county’s culture and heritage. Tipperary County Council’s Arts Officer is Melanie Scott and  the Heritage Officer is Roisin O’Grady. Marie paid tribute to all the strong and creative women she works with in the museum, Tipperary County Council and locally who do so much to advocate for the arts, culture and heritage sectors.

During lockdown, Marie and her staff have been focusing their efforts on sharing the museum’s exhibitions and artefacts with the public online and getting the museum ready to reopen safely for visitors when the Level 5 restrictions are finally lifted.

“We have had to look at how we deliver our services. We have basically just pivoted to going digital with any in-house events that we could post online. We have online workshops for Mothers’ Day and St Patrick’s Day planned.”

Marie, who has a degree in Fashion Design and Art History, worked as a VEC art tutor, fashion buyer for Penney’s and manager at Cahir’s Craft Granary and Design Studio before joining Tipperary County Council’s Museum Service as an education officer in 2003. She was appointed the museum’s curator in 2007 and her biggest challenge and achievement to date was overseeing the re-imagining and transformation of the County Museum into the Tipperary Museum of Hidden History, which re-opened to the public in October 2019 following a major investment from Fáilte Ireland and  Tipperary County Council.