News from the Museum

Fall 2017

Museum Celebrates Fifth Anniversary
Since its opening five years ago, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum has welcomed more than 36,000 visitors, conducted more than 265 private group tours, and offered 75 public programs. We would like to say “thank you” to all of you who have supported us! To celebrate, we are offering a special series of programs: “5 Events for 5 Years,” celebrating this occasion. Visit our website at for more details and registration information for the upcoming programs.

Wednesday, September 27
The Impact of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum – A lecture by Niamh O’Sulivan
6 p.m., Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

Friday, October 6
Irish Whiskey Tasting
6:30–8:30 p.m., Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, galleries and outside lawn

Tuesday, October 10
In the Irish Tenement Kitchen – A Lecture by Sarah Lohman
6 p.m., North Haven Auditorium, 370 Bassett Road, Quinnipiac University North Haven Campus

Saturday, October 21
Family Day at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

Thursday, November 2
Musical Performance by Declan O’Rourke
7 p.m., Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

The museum would be grateful if visitors to these events would bring canned foods to be donated to the Connecticut Food Bank to help end hunger in our community.

Release of Famine Folios: Series 4

The museum is proud to launch its fourth series of Famine Folios. The titles are:

Twinsome Minds: An Act of Double Remembrance by Richard Kearney and Sheila Gallagher
Ultimate Witnesses: The Visual Culture of Death, Burial and Mourning in Famine Ireland by Niamh Ann Kelly
Subjects Lacking Words? The Gray Zone of the Great Famine by Breandán Mac Suibhne

All folios are now available for sale online ( for U.S. customers, and for international customers). They also are available for purchase at the museum. We plan to celebrate with an official launch in Dublin in Spring 2018.

Museum Receives Award

We are very happy to report that the museum has won another award from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Famine Folios: Series 3 (published 2016) took second place in the books category of the 2017 AAM Museum Publications Design Competition. Kudos go to Rachel Foley, the designer of the folios, as well as the folio authors and editors Niamh O’Sullivan and Grace Brady.

AAM awarded Famine Folio: Series 2 first place in the books category in last year’s competition, and the New England Museum Association (NEMA) awarded Famine Folios: Series 1 second place in the book category of their museum publications competition in 2015. These awards highlight the high quality of the publications that the museum has produced.

To purchase any of the folios, visit and click on “shop.”

Upcoming Exhibitions

2018 will be a momentous year for Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, with two exhibitions on separate sides of the Atlantic.

Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is sending its acclaimed art collection to Ireland in 2018 for the exhibition Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger. It is fitting that the largest Famine-related art collection in the world be shown in Ireland—in Dublin Castle and Skibbereen—diametric epicenters of the Great Hunger.

The exhibition will open at Dublin Castle in March 2018 and run through the end of June. It will then travel to West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen and be on view from mid-July to mid-October 2018. The exhibition will be augmented with new specially designed programming, educational materials, a children’s film and more.

We hope that you will get a chance to visit this very exciting exhibition. Visit for more details.

The Irish in the Civil War: Drawings from the Becker Collection

At the outbreak of the Civil War, America was home to approximately 1.6 million people of Irish birth, most refugees from the Famine. At least 150,000 Irishmen served in the Union forces, and 20,000 with the Confederates. More Civil War generals came out of Ireland than any other foreign country. The exhibition The Irish in the Civil War will highlight the significant role that the Irish played in America’s struggle to define itself as a nation.

This new exhibition, curated by Niamh O’Sullivan, museum curator, and Sheila Gallagher and Judith Bookbinder of Boston College, will open at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum in April 2018. Visit for more details.

New Executive Director

After an extensive search, the museum’s board of directors is happy to report that they have appointed a new executive director to lead the museum. Ryan Mahoney will begin work at the museum on October 30. Ryan has served as the executive director of the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, NY since 2013.

“I don’t think it is possible to be more thrilled about joining the team at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum and Quinnipiac University. I am humbled by the decision of the Board for its confidence in me to help Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum take its next steps toward an exciting future. I am very eager to get started, and look forward to meeting all of the museum’s volunteers, supporters and members of the Quinnipiac family.”

We are all very pleased to be welcoming Ryan at the end of October.

Views from a Docent

As many of you know, a group of nine volunteer docents joined the IGHM team last spring. As an ongoing series, we present “Views from a Docent.” This fall, we are pleased to feature the thoughts of Maura Stevenson—full time professor of biology at Quinnipiac, and part time volunteer docent!

“Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum shares the story of a calamity that took place over 150 years ago in Ireland. The effects of the tragedy were felt throughout much of the world as millions of Irish citizens left their homeland to escape the conditions that existed then. Their hopes of a better life were frequently dashed as they were often not welcome in the countries to where they emigrated. Prejudice toward the Irish existed based on their religion, their appearance, their language and the negative perception of their work ethic. When the Irish looked for work, there were cries that they were stealing jobs from Americans.
As I’ve learned more about An Gorta Mór, I’ve experienced an increasing sense of urgency for us to tell the story and understand that we can fast forward to today and see many of the same things happening with other ethnic and religious groups. We hear cries that immigrant laborers steal American jobs or that some immigrant groups practice a threatening religion or that refugees fleeing horrific conditions require extreme vetting.  Hunger still exists because company profits are still allowed to reign over hungry bellies.
I am very grateful to have a role in the telling of the story of An Gorta Mór to visitors to the museum and hope that our knowledge of this dark part of history will be a step toward a more accepting and welcoming world.”

Supporting Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

As you can see, the museum’s goals for 2017–18 far exceed its small footprint. We need your help to bring these projects to fruition. Please visit to offer your financial support! Or, mail a check made payable to “IGHM” to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518-1908.

Please contact Claire Puzarne at 203-582-6574 or to discuss corporate or individual sponsorships!


Click the links below to read previous issues of Ireland’s Great Hunger

Museum’s newsletter.

Spring 2017

Winter 2017

Fall 2016

Summer 2016

Spring 2016

Winter 2016

Fall 2015

June 2014

Jack B. Yeats ‘Derrynane’ acquisition – January 2014

April 2013

September 2012