Thursday, February 23, 2012

Building 'The Little Museum' That Could: Q&A With Founder Trevor White

Dublin native Trevor White is a former publisher and food critic, and today a museum director. He grew up in on Raglan Road, in the capital’s Ballsbridge neighborhood, toiling in the family business, operating famed White’s on the Green restaurant in a Georgian townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green. Was this intimate knowledge of the restaurant trade where he gained his spirit of entrepreneurship?  Read his book “The Dubliner Diaries” to find out more about this decidedly irreverent food critic.  Meanwhile, Community Manager Belinda Evangelista pinged a few questions to White via e-mail about his remarkable achievement in opening Dublin’s new The Little Museum, within six months of the idea taking shape.  Is preservation of the past a passion for you?

Trevor White: It's particularly important that a capital city such as Dublin has a museum of its own. A museum is not just a tourist attraction, it's a repository of local knowledge and customs, and in remembering the past like that, a city museum serves an important function. That all sounds very high-minded, I should probably stress that preserving the past can be a lot of fun, too. Many of our visitors love the fact that there are mischievous artifacts in the collection, alongside some of the more historic stuff, including the lectern that JFK used to address both houses of the Irish parliament in 1963.   What was the catalyst for the concept of The Little Museum of Dublin?

White: I used to publish a magazine called The Dubliner and was always conscious that Dublin had no museum of its own. The Little Museum is an attempt to remedy that. How did you go from concept to museum opening in six months?

White: I have a great many flaws, and only one asset: tenacity. To be fair, I am also surrounded by very smart people, chief among them the museum's curator, Simon O'Connor. He did most of the hard work. Did you receive any governmental assistance in getting it off the ground?

White: Yes, the project could not have happened without the assistance of three state entities: Failte Ireland, Dublin City Council and the Dublin Regional Authority.   What advice would you give to future curators of a business model like yours?

White: "Are you insane?"  Is there anything you'd like to add?

White: We've been particularly pleased by the response of Irish-Americans, who have really taken to the museum in a way that is both surprising and delightful. Please keep coming.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This week we featured a video featuring the Little Museum of Dublin and presented by Trevor White.  Check it out on our Irish History Youtube channel. There is a  €5 admission charge for general admission. Children under 10, and those unemployed gain free admittance. An admission fee of €3 applies to students and senior citizens. See their website HERE. … WG

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