By Irish Echo Staff
The Irish American Heritage Museum has a new director.
Elizabeth Stack has taken the helm and has plans to extend the reach of the museum beyond its physical location in New York’s state capital, Albany.
“I have lots of plans for the museum and am excited to settle in to the capital region,” said Stack, who previously worked at the Institute of Irish Studies at Fordham University.
“I am looking forward to meeting the wider community,” said Stack who indicated her intent to extend the museum’s activities beyond its home city.
The museum describes its educational mission as “To preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America, inspiring individuals to examine the importance of their own heritage as part of the American cultural mosaic.”
The museum was first organized in 1986 by the New York State American-Irish Legislators Society and was initially financed by the State Natural Heritage Trust, the State Council on the Arts, and private donations.
Initially, and after it opened in June, 1990, the museum was located on the grounds of the Irish Culture and Sports Center in East Durham, in New York’s Catskills region.
In 1992, the museum was permanently chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The museum was relocated to downtown Albany in 2012. The 3,250 square foot space opened on January 17, 2012 and includes the Paul O’Dwyer Library and the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ archives.
Exhibits at the museum have included: “Irish in the Civil War,” which looked at Irish Americans in the American Civil War; “The Irish and the Erie Canal,” which highlighted the contributions of the Irish in all phases of the Erie Canal construction, and “Dublin: Then and Now,” which included photographs of the streets of Dublin in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
States the museum on its website: “Our museum….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.”
The museum is located at 370 Broadway in Albany.