An Irish famine memorial section at Quinnipiac University’s Arnold Bernhard Library is set to be moved off campus into a public facility. ‘An Gorta Mor,’ (The Great Hunger) will be moved to Whitney Avenue in Hamden, Connecticut, and will be recognized as an official "Ireland's Great Hunger Museum."
The Quad, Quinnipiac University’s student newspaper, reports on the move of the important historical cache, which features 350 books on the Great Hunger in Ireland.
The current collection at Quinnipiac, which has since outgrown its room in the library, is a part of the Lender Family Special Collection. Quinnipiac acquired the collection after a donation by the Lender family. The room featuring the Great Hunger materials was dedicated to members of the Lender family on September 21, 2000 and has been housed there ever since.
Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, spoke of the advantage of moving the collection off campus. "This [new] museum will house the majority of the collection, which has now expanded well beyond the room in the library. The collection is extensive, and the separate museum will enable the public to visit and view the collection with greater ease and better parking."
The new museum’s facilities are currently being renovated, but are anticipated to have an opening ceremony in September or October of this year.
Despite being moved off of Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel campus, students will still be encouraged to visit the historical collection.
"We do envision students interested in this aspect of Irish history, art history, or in museum work which will be able to serve as volunteers or interns when it eventually opens," added Bushnell.
Aside from housing some of the most important An Gorta Mor materials, Quinnipiac University has other strong Irish and Irish American ties. The University’s president John L. Lahey was named Irish American of the Year for 2011 by Irish America Magazine, and the University has close ties for an exchange program in Cork. Lahey will also be inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame, in County Wexford, next month.