08 March 2006

1916 Proclamation donated to National Museum

Irish Examiner

By Kieran McDaid
08 March 2006

AN original copy of the Proclamation of Independence picked up in O’Connell Street in 1916 has been donated to the National Museum of Ireland.
The family of Joseph McCrossan, who worked for many years as librarian in the Oireachtas, handed over the document.

It is similar to one that sold for a world record €390,000 at an auction in Dublin in 2004.

Arts Minister John O’Donoghue said he was delighted the National Museum of Ireland has acquired the valuable document.

“It will help interpret, in a very real way, the new 1916 exhibition being built by the museum,” he said.

National Museum director Dr Patrick Wallace said he was deeply honoured to be presented with the document, which represents one of the most important historical documents in modern Irish history.

“We are extremely grateful to the McCrossan family for their co-operation in making this significant document available to the National Museum and to the State,” he added.

Research has failed to establish how many Proclamations survived the Easter Rising, but it is believed around 20 still exist.

Keeper at the National Museum, Michael Kenny, said this copy has been examined in great detail.

“It is in good condition and comes with a good provenance,” he said.

“The Proclamation was picked up on O’Connell Street in 1916 by Mary McCrossan, the paternal grandmother of the McCrossans, who hid the document in the lining of her hat to protect it.”

The Proclamation will be central in the forthcoming 1916 commemorative exhibition The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916.

The exhibition will open in the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, in April to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Located in a newly renovated exhibition space, museum experts can ensure acceptable levels of light and humidity in order to display such documents safely.

The acquisition was made possible under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, which provides for tax relief in respect of the donation of important national heritage items to the national collections equal to the value of the item.

Another copy of the Proclamation is due to go under the hammer next month as part of James Adam and Son and Mealy’s Auctioneers’ Independence Sale.

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