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To survive, museum will have to pay its way

The Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut will have to be more self- sufficient if it is to survive


By Ray O’Hanlon

The Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut might continue to function at its present location.

But it will have to pay its own way. Or at least a considerable part of it

That’s what Quinnipiac is indicating in a statement by way of a response to reports that the museum’s days could be numbered.

“The university is in the midst of a rigorous and comprehensive strategic planning process around the critical priorities of student learning and institutional excellence. Given our many student-centric priorities, our hope is that Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum identifies diverse sources of support for its programs and initiatives, including philanthropy,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs at Quinnipiac in the statement.

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That would appear to signal a pulling back of support from the university, though precise figures financial stipulations or a timeline are not mentioned.

The threat to the facility, which was opened with great fanfare in October, 2013, follows the retirement last year of Quinnipiac president Dr. John Lahey and the arrival of a new president, Dr. Judy Olian, at a university nationally known for, among other things, its political polling.

Quinnipiac’s campus community radio station is slated for closure and the withdrawal of a Quinnipiac marching unit from the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been confirmed.

“As for the parade, while we enthusiastically support its important goals and underlying spirit, we are redirecting university resources to more immediate needs that serve students on the campus,” said Bushnell.

Bushnell, who has been at Quinnipiac for a number of years and was a close associate of former president Dr. John Lahey, was editor a few years ago of a lavish hardcover book celebrating 250 years of the parade.

That book, written by parade historian John Ridge, was published by Quinnipiac University Press.

Whatever about the absence of the marching contingent – certain to be a disappointment to those who made up that contingent – the closure of the museum would be treated with widespread dismay in the Irish/Irish-American community.