Grace Fegan, Manager, Medieval Mile Museum (second from left) and Gráinne Ward, Fáilte Ireland (second from right) are pictured with Andrew Todd (far left) and Sheila Dooley, Tandem Design
Plans for a new exhibition at Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum that will feature the three bodies found during excavations at the museum in 2016, poignantly entitled 3 lives 3 deaths, one life unlived, are at an advanced stage, following the appointment of exhibition design and installation experts Tandem Design.
Tandem Design, appointees for such notable exhibitions as Titanic Belfast and the 1916 centenary exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland, is working closely with the Museum team to deliver a poignant exhibition that will provide a “captivating insight into the poor and middle-classes of medieval Kilkenny” according to Grace Fegan, manager of Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum.
“The bodies discovered during excavations three summers ago really captured the imagination of Kilkenny people and, indeed, members of the public much further afield. We were inundated with questions as to who these people were and what their lives were like”, commented Grace Fegan.
“Archaeological and forensic analysis tells us that the remains are those of a woman in her 40s, a teenage girl, a 12year old child and an infant baby that lived in the city between 400 and 600 hundred years ago. 3lives, 3 deaths, One life unlived is the poignant title we have chosen for this new exhibition that will tell the fascinating story of what the daily lives of these women and children might have entailed; who they were and how they worked and lived”, added Ms. Fegan.
Tandem Design’s track record in exhibition design and interpretation includes Titanic Belfast, Seamus Heaney Homeplace, King John’s Castle, Derry Maritime Museum, the 1916 Centenary Exhibition and the National Library of Ireland. The company has a Kilkenny connection too with Sheila Dooley, Tandem’s Interpretive Planner for the 3lives exhibition, a Freshford native.
“In everything we do the visitor experience is central. As a Kilkenny native, I’m delighted to be working with Grace and the museum team on this exhibition, creating a warm and thought-provoking story for visitors and one that really resonates. Our aim is to really connect the visitor with the lives of these medieval people”, said Ms. Dooley.
Local communications company Midas PR has been appointed to work alongside the Museum in publicising the exhibition. Midas PR director Alma Feeley has previously provided PR services to the National Museum of Ireland.
Much thought and planning has gone into how the new exhibition will sit within the Medieval Mile Museum. The museum team has approved a ‘space within a space’ for the 3 lives exhibition that is “respectful to the subject and intriguing to the visitor”. Inspired by concepts of the catacomb and crypt, it is anticipated that the outer structure of the exhibit will mirror the construction of the museum’s north aisle, in which it is located. The exhibition will present opportunities for discovery-led, multi-sensory and interactive learning. Within, the remains will be respectfully displayed and accompanied by minimal but meaningful interpretation. The visitor will feel a sense of exploration facilitated by the design while having the option to choose if they wish to enter the internal space.
It is somewhat ironic that these once ‘unseen classes’ could not have afforded to be buried in a coffin or vault. However, in a matter of weeks they will be permanently housed in the Medieval Mile Museum, alongside the tombs of Kilkenny’s merchant classes.
Further information on the exhibition subjects and a launch date for will be announced in the coming weeks.