Footfall on the increase at Limerick’s Hunt museum

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

NEARLY 65,000 people visited the Hunt Museum in the first eight months of this year.

NEARLY 65,000 people visited the Hunt Museum in the first eight months of this year.

Director of the museum, Dr Hugh Maguire said he is delighted that the total footfall from January to August is 64,570.

Mr Maguire said there was also a spike in visitor numbers this month, with 900 people attending the museum last Saturday alone following the gay Pride parade in the city, and he is also expecting another surge in visitor numbers with the upcoming Culture Night.

In July alone 11,000 people visited the museum, a year-on-year increase of over 32 per cent.

But Mr Maguire said their most successful exhibition to date has been the work of photographer Gerry Andrews, which resulted in “unprecedented levels of public engagement”. “Building on the success of the [Franz] Haselbeck photographic exhibition in 2010 and the Ranks exhibition earlier this year the exhibition has highlighted yet again the level of local interest in local history and stories,” he said.

Mr Maguire said the Hunt Museum is developing a new strategic plan to reconcile the needs of such local interest with that of a wider national and international audience.

“Catering for a diversity of audiences will be both challenging and stimulating. Working with Gerry Andrews has been a pleasure and it has been wonderful to watch how this exhibition has bridged generational and class divides and offered something to all in Limerick. The success of the exhibition has undoubtedly helped our visitor numbers and hopefully we can build on this success in the years ahead,” he said.

The Gerry Andrews photographic exhibition, ‘Shaped by history - Limerick in the 1970s’ - is now due to conclude on Sunday, September 23, due to popular demand.

A book compiling all of the popular Limerick images is due to be released by Christmas. The reduced entry fee of €5 has been maintained since last year, however entry is free to many of the exhibitions.

The second Horse Outside has also been drawing a younger audience to the museum, after the life-size clay horse was designed by children from the Regeneration areas.

“We have had a packed schedule of events and are already putting ambitious plans in place for 2013, and the City of Culture 2014,” he said.