McClelland Library hosts unique exhibition through June

Faith Cain and Andre Berge take in Irish history at the VIP opening of the exhibition “Remembering the Easter Rising” on Oct. 10 at the McClelland Library in Phoenix. The show runs through June. (Photo by Dolores Tropiano)

Faith Cain and Andre Berge take in Irish history at the VIP opening of the exhibition “Remembering the Easter Rising” on Oct. 10 at the McClelland Library in Phoenix. The show runs through June. (Photo by Dolores Tropiano)

The McClelland Library has staged another successful exhibition in its upstairs gallery space, building on its reputation for quality, cultural offerings.

This one, launched in conjunction with a global tribute to the centennial of the Easter Rising of 1916, has garnered the praise of Ireland’s consul general, who was in Phoenix for the show’s VIP opening and the Anam Cara Awards Gala on Oct. 10 at the Irish Cultural Center.

The exhibition opened to the public on Oct. 13 at 1106 N. Central Ave.

“They are ahead of the curve on the 1916 Commemoration,” said Philip Grant, the consul general for the Western United States, who was making his first visit to the library, the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi. “I am not aware of any other Irish community, including New York, that has been able to do this.”

“Remembering the Easter Rising, Historical Context and Cultural Legacy” an interactive exhibition, brings to life the history of Ireland from the 17th century to today, including the events surrounding the rebellion of 1916, a key moment in Ireland’s path to independence. It is a story told through authentic period pieces, rare books, photos and newspapers, video presentations and other artifacts.

Philip Grant, consul general to Ireland for the Western United States, admires a display at the VIP opening of the exhibition “Remembering the Easter Rising” on Oct. 10 at the McClelland  Library in Phoenix. (photo by Dolores Tropiano)

Philip Grant, consul general to Ireland for the Western United States, admires a display at the VIP opening of the exhibition “Remembering the Easter Rising” on Oct. 10 at the McClelland Library in Phoenix. (photo by Dolores Tropiano)

Mr. Grant, who had a hand in the development of the show, said he hopes to bring representatives from other Irish communities to the McClelland Library’s second floor gallery exhibit, describing it as “the perfect space.”

The “1916 Commemoration Series” includes the library exhibition and a 10-month calendar of lectures and book discussions by nationally respected speakers, a multimedia presentation and a film series. Sponsors include the 2016 Global and Diaspora Programme of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the consulate general of Ireland, San Francisco and other local individual patrons. It is open through June.

“It’s crazy amazing,” said Valerie Kelleher of Phoenix as she strolled through the space taking in the Irish story. “I did not expect this.”

Memorabilia items include: guns, jewelry, an antique violin, a sewing machine and more. Ms. Kelleher’s daughter, Kelsey Kelleher, a costume designer and library assistant, designed replicas of the volunteer uniforms worn by male and female soldiers in the war.

The exhibit is open during library hours, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesdays. The cost is $10 adults  and $5 children. More information is available at azirishlibrary.org.

“It is a world-class exhibition that helps explain a very significant event in Ireland’s past,” said Chas Moore, head librarian for the McClelland Library. “It has broad appeal for anyone interested in history and culture.”

Ms. Tropiano is a volunteer correspondent at the North Valley Office of Independent Newsmedia.

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