Written communication, whether a postcard, letter, text or email is a tradition that has been carried out for thousands of years. It’s an activity that most of us partake in every day, but never really think about. Our new exhibition, ‘A Message in Time’, - which opened on the third of July at Tipperary County Museum - seeks to change by provoking the visitor into thinking and questioning our relationship with written communication. It’s a fascinating trip when we consider how we communicate instantly in the current digital age.
‘A Message in Time’ is an exhibit which examines our obsession with communication, and how this continues to evolve and change as new technologies come on-stream. At the heart of the exhibition is Tipperary County Museum’s extraordinary collection of vintage postcards and stamps, many of which have never been on public display before. The postcards convey Tipperary’s changing landscapes over the past decades. They tell us stories of life during wartime, how visiting tourists viewed our Irish villages and seaside resorts, Irish people’s experiences abroad, and lovers experiencing both joy and heartbreak. Companies used postcards to promote their businesses, while satirical postcards poked fun at Irish political issues.
“The inspiration for our new exhibition came first and foremost from our postcard collection”, says Museum Curator Marie McMahon. “However, we soon realised it was impossible to tell that story in isolation. We ended up looking at the process of ‘messaging’ in all its forms, whether that is a cave painting of 30,000 years ago or a tweet sent yesterday. It is the same principle, just a different way of doing it.”
With this in mind the Tipperary County Museum invested heavily into this exhibition. Collaborating with Clonmel’s Junction Festival, they engaged with three nationally acclaimed artists- James Earley (Graffiti & Graphic Artist), Katie Hanlan (Knitted Textile Artist), Lay of the Land (Visual & Textile Artists)- to add their pieces inspired by postcards to the ‘A Message In Time’ exhibition.
The Clonmel Junction Festival has been running in Clonmel for approximately 20 years. This is Tipperary County Museum’s first collaboration with the Festival and is proving engaging, inspirational and productive.
Tipperary County Museum also worked with two 3rd Year LIT students Reece & Kevin, who are studying ‘Creative Multi Media’ and ‘Digital Animation Production’. The students researched the Museum’s postcard and written collection to create visual narratives and animations with the aim to get the public participating and engaging with the exhibition.
The new exhibition breaks new ground for the Museum and promises to be an entertaining and thought-provoking journey through part of our collective consciousness as humans. For all of us culture vultures, this is not to be missed!