Wednesday, 12 August 2009

National Library of Ireland

I visited the National Library of Ireland. They had a very interesting exhibit on Irish emigrants to the European continent between 1600-1800. The exhibit covered many different kinds of people from students, to soldiers and clergy. It told this story through letters, paintings, maps, and objects. One thing I really enjoyed about this exhibit was a very large device which looked like a kindle. The library staff had digitized many letters written by emigrants, and visitors to the exhibit could search by keyword, place, date, or name. They could find all the letters by emigrants which mentioned a certain town, and get a composite view based on the many different experiences. I liked that the exhibit stated that migration is a permanent part of the human experience, and tried to draw connections between emigrants in the 1600s with other times in history. The experience of starting on the outside of a culture, and becoming part of that culture, and even changing it in the process is a very universal process. I thought the exhibit did a very effective job at explaining this. I enjoyed the paintings and letters, and thought they brought a personal touch to such a broad and general topic.

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