Described by Lonely Planet as ‘not just the best museum in Ireland but one of the best in Europe’, the Chester Beatty is the pre-eminent Irish museum promoting the appreciation and understanding of world cultures. With holdings of manuscripts, rare books, and other treasures from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, it is an engaging and welcoming space - where visitors from Ireland and overseas enjoy permanent and temporary exhibitions and a broad variety of activities for all ages and backgrounds.
The Chester Beatty also reaches out to the culturally diverse communities in Ireland. By drawing upon and interpreting the wonderful collections, the museum actively engages with the newest members of Ireland’s society.
Once the private library of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875 – 1968), a successful American mining engineer, collector and philanthropist, the Chester Beatty is also a research library for scholars from all over the world.
To view their online collection visit https://chesterbeatty.ie/explore.
The first of the new temporary exhibits on display is Siam through the Lens of John Thomson, 1865-66. This will be on display from 21 February – 17 May 2020.
Born in Edinburgh in 1837, Thomson travelled to Asia in 1862. Over the next ten years he undertook numerous journeys across the region, spending almost a year in the kingdom of Siam (modern Thailand) where he was granted unique access to the court of King Mongkut (r. 1851-68). The photographs Thomson took in Siam include portraits and palace scenes, religious ceremonies, architecture, and cityscapes. Thomson also received permission to visit Angkor Wat (then under Siam’s control), becoming the first to photograph its famous ruins. the collection introduces the sights and people of mid-nineteenth-century Thailand as witnessed by his camera.
See more information at https://chesterbeatty.ie/exhibitions/siam/.
The second collection, Edo in Colour: Prints from Japan’s Metropolis will be on display from 19 June 2020 – 10 January 2021. Featuring more than 100 prints and printed books from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition will include some 40 celebrated artists of the period. This wealth of visual arts will be staged across two rotations, with a full changeover halfway through, making a nod to the seasonal cues in the prints. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-colour catalogue and engaging public programme.
Admission to the Chester Beatty is free however, there is a charge for adult tours. See www.chesterbeatty.ie for more information.