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“Small museum with unique art collection”

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Hamden
Attraction details
Hartford, Connecticut
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Small museum with unique art collection”
Reviewed May 28, 2014

I visited this museum which is affiliated with the Quinnipiac University on a gloomy weekday. Admission is free and there is parking right next to the building. The space was welcoming and my friend and I were the only visitors. We started with a short film about the history of the Potato Famine. Although the film gave a good background to the historical event that inspired the art we were about to see, but the narrative of the film was decidedly biased toward to the Irish viewpoint and painted the British in a very bad light. It made me wonder if there were more to the story than what was told in the film. Some of the art included in the film are housed in this museum so you can take a closer look at the pieces after the film. After the film, we explored the two floors of this high ceiling building. The small collection of paintings, sketches, political cartoons, bronze and wooden sculptures depict scenes and images of the blight and its effect on the people of Ireland.There is also a large stained glass window. This is a small bit of history which gets little attention in a world history class, and the museum did much to open my eyes to that tragedy. The front desk offers a booklet and some postcards for sale. You don't need more than an hour to visit the collection.

Visited June 2013
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1 Thank PDK5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Aspires to more than it achieves”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

The potato famine (and other victimizing experiences undergone by the Irish) was a terrible event right up there with other humanitarian disasters through history--especially those exacerbated by human misbehavior. Unfortunately, Quinnipiac U has confused the horror of the event with scholarly rigor.

Were this not a university museum, I'd be less caustic. I make no brief for much of British treatment of the Irish during the famine or at other times, but I don't need to be beaten over the head with it, nor do I need to be given the impression that awful as matters were, all was black and white. This effect was not helped by a friendly guard who, gratuitously voicing somewhat interesting comments about what is on display, also seemed to want to shape my reactions beyond what that raw information might provide. (In truth, I don't think he saw the difference between describing and judging--admittedly a difficult intellectual exercise.)

That said, many of the varied exhibits are powerful, including some magnificent and disturbing sculptures by John Behan. If you can just edit out most of the judgmental terms in the audio-visual presentations and written descriptions, you should develop some fine appreciation for just how awful this famine was.

The building is almost brand-new and quite attractively designed.

Visited April 2014
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3 Thank ryanowitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stratford, Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Must see!”
Reviewed March 27, 2014

Wonderful museum explaining the Irish Famine...informative short film & beautiful art work in many mediums. Interesting information from the volunteer; you can tell the gentleman truly enjoys sharing his knowledge of the artwork. Free admission! Depending upon your time with each art piece this can be enjoyed in an hour...I suggest you relax and enjoy your time here.

Visited March 2014
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Thank Celeste M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Second time around”
Reviewed February 1, 2014

We visited the museum a year ago and really enjoyed it -- until an overzealous staffer chastised our younger guests for noise they did not make. This time, we brought my sister visiting from Wisconsin and we all enjoyed our 45-minute stay. The introductory film sets the table nicely for viewing the art and understanding its context. The museum itself is beautiful and both staff members we dealt with at the front desk were terrific. We bought a couple of postcards and my sister thought the exhibit book, at just $10, was a steal.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank RhodyBFL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CT
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Small but very nice”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

Nice film and artwork relevant to the theme.Two stories but most of the museum is upstairs. The film and a few exhibits are on lower level.We thought we'd be done in half hour but ended up staying over an hour.

Visited January 2014
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Thank chlovis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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