Photo: James Healy

Photo: James Healy

The Classical Museum in the Newman Building on UCD campus is to take part in National Heritage Week, an initiative that is coordinated by The Heritage Council.

Heritage week runs throughout Ireland each year, with the aim of increasing awareness about heritage. It will run this year from 22nd to 30th August, with many events being run across the country. Full listings of events are available through their website.

UCD’s Classical Museum was founded in 1910, and was originally located at Earlsfort Terrace. It is now located in room K216 of the Newman Building. For Heritage Week, the museum will be opening for increased hours, and will be hosting handling sessions for visitors, so they can experience handling ancient artefacts.

“It’s to raise awareness for the museum itself,” Declan Clear, an assistant at the museum explains. “We’re just hoping to get some new people in and hopefully find some new people to get engaged with the museum.”

Visiting the Classical Museum in UCD is a unique experience, as Clear explains. “For students it’s great because it gives them a chance to do something that I don’t think they’d be able to do anywhere else, such as handling materials from ancient times, look at artefacts and remains that in my opinion, I don’t think you’d get this anywhere else.”

The museum certainly is a unique experience, and one that is relevant and important for students. “It’s great because we have a lot of students who do projects on this museum. One of the displays here was done by the Masters class. For staff it gives them a chance to bring classes in here… it brings classics to life in a respect,” Clear explains.

classical museum 3
Photo: James Healy

The Classical Museum also took part in Heritage Week last year, with between thirty and forty people coming in to see the museum. “Heritage week in general is a great idea I think,” Clear says. “A lot of museums that would usually charge are free in. There are a lot of different exhibits that would be small that would only open by request that will be open for the week.”

The initiative is successful in bringing not only students, but members of the general public into a museum that is often overlooked. Containing a huge collection of ancient artifacts, the museum is a must see for any history or classics enthusiast. The collection is an expansive one, containing Minoan, Mycenaean and Cypriot artefacts, Greek vases, Greek and Roman coins and Roman pottery and glass.

Heritage week gives exposure to the Classical Museum in UCD, amongst other smaller museums. Clear says, “it’d be nice to see it used by more students, because it is here and we’re always happy to have people in here. That’s what the great thing about Heritage week is, it brings attention to smaller museums.”

The participation of the Classical Museum in Heritage Week will bring people from outside UCD into the university to view the expansive collection. The museum is one that can be viewed by everyone in the family, and the handling sessions will be of particular interest to students and history enthusiasts who may want the experience to view the artefacts up close.

Heritage week will be running throughout Ireland from 22nd to 30th August. The Classical Museum in UCD will open on 26th August from 5pm to 8pm, 28th from 11am to 5pm, and 29th August from 11pm to 2pm for special viewings of the collection and handling sessions.