When a museum has a well-documented collection, it is in a good position to lend objects, as staff will have good idea as to what is in its reserve collection for lending and will also have an effective system for managing ‘loans out’. At the present time, Clare Museum has two objects on long-term loan to other Irish museums. These items are:
- Royal Red Cross Medal on loan to the National Museum of Ireland for their Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition
- Memorial card to the Shanahan brothers on loan to Galway City Museum for their exhibition Revolution in Galway: 1913-1923
These ‘loans out’ were started with preliminary enquiries from both museums about the availability of their items of interest, which they were aware of because of their presence on our website. These informal enquiries were followed up by formal written requests, which confirmed the purpose of the loan for exhibition, proposed dates, the borrowers’ contact details, the name of the items and their registration numbers.
Clare Museum requested and received a confidential Facilities Report from both museums, but given that both museums were familiar to our curator, no follow up inspection was required. The loans then proceeded when formal loan agreements were signed using our ‘Loans Out’ form, and evidence of insurance was provided by the lender.
Normally Clare Museum would appoint a staff member, trained and experienced in object handling and collection care, to be responsible for couriering, packing, transport and installation of loan items. In the case of the memorial card, this duty carried out by the curator and taken to Galway City Museum.
The significance of the memorial card is that it appears to be the only extant memorial card commemorating the memory of the Loughnane Brothers from Shanaglish, who were brutally tortured and murdered by Crown Forces on the Galway/Clare border in November 1920.
For the loan to the National Museum, a more pragmatic approach was taken and the Royal Red Cross Medal was handed over to a visiting senior member of the NMI staff when they were in Clare on other business.
Loaning an item of value to an exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland is something we are quite proud of at Clare Museum. The Royal Red Cross Medal was awarded to Nurse Josephine Canny of Mountshannon, County Clare, because of her actions as a member of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, when Allied Prisoners of War were being transported on a train during the Second World War. When the train was boarded by the Waffen SS with the intent of shooting the prisoners, Nurse Canny stood up to the commanding officer and prevented him from carrying out his intended actions. She successfully remonstrated with an officer of the German SS who had come aboard a train upon which the prisoners were being transported, with the intention of shooting them.