Support the Museum Appeal

Dear Members and Friends,

We hope you and your family and friends are healthy and staying indoors. While it has been devastating to have to close our doors so soon after moving in to our new location, we know that it is best at this time to stay apart.

The Museum was founded in 1986 to connect people of Irish heritage across the generations. Our programs and exhibits commemorate our respect for those whose struggles made our lives possible. The stories we share at the Museum and on our Facebook page and other social media, are often about the courage of ordinary people in exceptional circumstances. The struggles and bravery of our ancestors, who survived famine, or wars, and leaving home, transcending prejudice and hard times, hold powerful lessons for our own current difficulties and encourage us to hold on. We strive to preserve their immigrant stories for the generations who will follow, and as our mission statement says, we encourage Americans of all backgrounds to explore all of the stories which unite us as a nation. 

While our physical doors may have temporarily closed, we are working on ways to share our exhibits digitally with you. Elizabeth is currently finishing writing the new content for the exhibits, and plans to record short video presentations which will be shared on the website and on our Facebook page. We are working on adding new content to our website, including links to resources that may offer insight and stir interest while students are learning from home. This will take time, but do check in.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future at the moment. While the Museum is more than just a physical place, having to close in what is our busiest month, foregoing the earned revenue on which we depend, will take a toll on our work. We need your support - now more than ever - to get us through this financial crisis. It is an unsettling time for us here at the Museum, as it is for you at home too. I know people are worried about making rent and paying their bills, and whether their jobs are secure. But I would remind you that museums which preserve and share history and culture are essential to us as a society; they are not just a luxury. Look at the various cultural and artistic entities which are sharing their resources online and in doing so, are getting us through these dark days. We intend to do that too, but I am requesting your help, if you can afford it. I encourage those of you who receive and enjoy our newsletter, but are not members, to join at this time, if possible. Otherwise, please consider making a gift in any amount, which will allow us to survive these unprecedented times, remain strong, and reopen when circumstances allow.

There is an Irish saying which is very appropriate for our times. "Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine." It is in the shelter of each other, that people live. We are finding that to be true in so many ways at the moment, and  I am sure our immigrant ancestors knew it too. Like the immigrants who are at the center of our story, we are living through the stuff of history. I appeal to you to help us keep passing on the story and culture of our people in America, and am most grateful for your support. 

Please stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to being together again.

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The Museum, following guidance from the governor’s office in order to protect the health and safety of our visitors, our staff, and our community during the coronavirus epidemic, has decided to close to the public through March 31st, when we will re-evaluate.

We are especially disappointed that this closure is happening in March, and just as we opened in our new premises. These circumstances make it all the more vital that we keep the Museum strong. We will continue to update our Facebook page with posts and may even do some live broadcasts.

I think about the experience of our ancestors, as they left home and sought a new life in a new country. They must have been afraid, lonely, and overwhelmed at times, but they helped each other put down roots, and they thrived. As we deal with social distancing, and business closures, I am reminded that we are doing this to protect the vulnerable among us - that we are engaging in a communal act by separating ourselves. As historian Timothy J. Meagher wrote, "Can a people, can a nation, can a world, really, survive without some sense of our obligations, our loyalties to one another? Can we, or any society, take care of our old, succor the poor, or nourish our children without some sense of community?"

This St. Patrick's Day, Covid 19 is demanding we do something collectively for the greater good. So although we are not marching or gathering, I feel my Irish-ness in that act.

We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time and send our best wishes to you and your communities. We look forward to welcoming you all back to the Museum soon. Stay safe everyone.

It's your heritage...pass it on.

The Irish American Heritage Museum is a permanently chartered 501(c)3 non-profit with an educational mission. It is committed to the basic tenet that preserving one’s heritage is vital to providing a cultural and historical foundation to future generations of Americans.

Our museum in Albany, New York, provides year-round access to our exhibits, our Paul O’Dwyer Library, lectures, presentations, film screenings, book signings and other special programs and events.

The Museum was an integral force in providing instruction in New York State’s public schools about the Irish Famine of 1845-1853.  Further, we are the first Museum of its kind here in America to have exhibited at the National Library in Dublin.

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Upcoming Events

  • Administering Random Terror: The Black and Tans in Ireland


    Aug 26, 2020, 7:00 PM

    Dr. Elizabeth Stack will deliver lecture three in the War of Independence Series will look at the worst of the atrocities committed by this paramilitary organisation, and the Auxiliaries, as well as Michael Collins's campaign against them.