Statement of Strategy 2007-2010

This Statement of Strategy has been prepared in compliance with Government requirements and will direct the operation and development of the Gallery over the coming four years. Following the pattern of previous Statements, it incorporates ongoing projects in addition to new elements relating to developments scheduled over the period 2007-10. The single most critical factor that will dominate the running of the Gallery over the lifetime of the current Statement is the Master Development Plan (MDP). The key objectives of the MDP will be the refurbishment and upgrading of the historic Dargan (1864) and Milltown (1903) Wings, together with the provision of new, purpose-built accommodation for the collection, staff and Gallery operations.

Funded by the National Development Plan (NDP) through the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, the Master Development Plan will be project managed by the Office of Public Works.

Mission Statement: 

The purpose of the National Gallery of Ireland is to display, conserve, manage, interpret and develop the National Collection; to enhance enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and to enrich the cultural, artistic and Intellectual life of present and future generations.

Objectives and Initiatives:

The key objectives and accompanying initiatives are set out as follows: 

Objective 1: Delivery of the Master Development Programme

This project is being undertaken to address major shortcomings in the Gallery's infrastructure. Most, crucially, it will bring the galleries in the historic buildings into line with international museum standards. New picture galleries will also form part of the plan, in this instance to provide additional accommodation in which to display the Gallery's extensive collection, including a dedicated space for the Yeats Museum and cabinet galleries for small scale works. Provision will also be made for customised facilities for the better care and study of the collection, including conservation and photographic studios. Public services will also be considerably enhanced, most notably by the development of customised accommodation for the activities of the Gallery's busy Education Department. A new Library will also be a key objective of this landmark undertaking.

1.1 Managing the MDP: Establish the brief and manage delivery of the Programme.

The Gallery will:

Finalise the brief for the Master Development Plan.

Put in place appropriate administrative structures.

Make preparations to enable works and subsequent construction phase.

Provide for the display and storage of the collection over the period of the MDP.

Determine the implication for staff and the public and make appropriate provision(s).

Establish the implications for the security of the collection and determine strategies to address related risks.

Objective 2: Maintain, display, enhance and manage the Collection.

During the period of this Statement, the emphasis will be on safely managing the collection during a major works programme. Despite the inevitable room closures that will result, the Gallery will seek to display the collection highlights for the enjoyment of the public. The safe handling and storage of the remainder of the collection will continue to be a priority and notwithstanding interruptions to the displays, the Gallery will continue to evolve strategies for the better management of its extensive holdings.

2.1 Collection Maintenance, Conservation, security and the environment: Preserve the Collection to the highest standards.

The Gallery will:

Establish criteria for the storage of material on-and off-site.

Consider the impact of the scheduled building programme for the collection and make provisions to address related issues and risks.

2.2 Displaying the collection: Ensure the best works in the collection are on permanent display, using appropriate and up-to-date interpretative methods.

The Gallery will:

Consider the feasibility of continuing to manage loan requests during the MDP.

2.3 Acquisitions: Augment the collection in line with the Gallery's collection development policy through purchases, donations and bequests.

The Gallery will:

Review strategies and structures to promote gifts and bequests to the collection.

Put in place contingencies to fund the acquisition of masterpieces of special importance for the collection.

2.4 Managing the collection: implement a comprehensive collection management system to include all works within the Gallery and on loan.

The Gallery will:

Progress the implementation of the computerised Collection Management System, to include all relevant modules.

Advance the digitisation of the collection in high resolution.

Complete the computerisation of conservation records.

Key Objective 3: Develop the Gallery as a leading centre for the study and dissemination of knowledge of the Collection and the visual arts, generally.

Given the importance of its collection, the Gallery has a significant role to play in the community in heightening awareness and fostering interest in the study and appreciation of art study of art. Due to the nature of its collection, the Gallery has a special role to play in promoting an interest in, an appreciation of Irish art.

The Gallery fulfils this role through research, exhibitions, and publications, its education and also through its community outreach service, its Library and documentation services and alliances with other museums and institutions, nationally and internationally.

3.1 Research: Enhance understanding of the Collection through research, internally and externally, in co-operation with other institutions.

The Gallery will:

Establish a periodic publication to facilitate the dissemination of research on the collection and related topics.

Continue to resource the publication of scholarly catalogues on the collection (British, Early Italian, French and Later Irish Paintings.

Promote the scientific investigation of the collection.

Continue to establish links with academic institutions.

Establish a research database of materials papers, watermarks, pigments, canvas stamps.

Facilitate the hosting of symposia and research oriented events.

Publish scholarly catalogues for major exhibitions.

Facilitate interdisciplinary activities and projects.


3.2 Exhibitions: Develop the Gallery as a leading international centre for promoting and attracting exhibitions.

The Gallery will:

Schedule a programme of exhibitions to mid 2009, prior to the MDP.

Initiate planning for programmes following the MDP.

Promote links with sister institution with a view to co-operating on exhibition projects.

Assess options for local and international touring exhibitions during the period of the MDP.

3.3 Library and Research Services: Develop the Library and Research Services as a leading centre for the study of the visual arts, in co-operation with academic institutions, for use by Gallery staff, academics, students and those with a special interest in the study of art.

The Gallery will:

Build and resource customised accommodation for the Library and Research Services as part of the MDP.

Continue to develop the Library and Research Services to facilitate external/remote access to material, including archives and special collections.

Manage a conservation programme for the library, archive and CSIA including binding and collection assessment.

Reduce the Library's cataloguing backlog.

Develop a records management policy for the institution.

Encourage use of the Library and Research Services by way of heightening public awareness.


Key Objective 4: Facilitate greater public access to the Collection.

The National Gallery will continue to reach out to national, international audiences and local communities by developing its services to cater for the changing needs of Irish society. The Gallery provides a wide range of learning services and activities that help the visitor to optimise the potential of the collections and take control of their own self-directed learning. It is taking account of the evolving multi-cultured nature of Irish society by adopting an inclusive approach that provides an extended range of visitor services that better serves its growing public.

The Gallery seeks to make the collections available to the widest audience possible consistent with the requirement to safeguard the future. Access to the works of art and information about them is made available through key Gallery services including exhibitions, loans, public programmes, education and community outreach services, publications, research services and web-based initiatives. These services provide support and encouragement for people to engage with the collections. This includes adults, children, families, older people, those engaging in lifelong learning, people with abilities and disabilities and those with special needs. Young people's activities form a special area of focus, particularly the pre-school, primary, post-primary and third-level sector. In this way every encouragement is provided for the wider community to gain understanding, appreciation and enjoyment from the national collection.

4.1 Education and Interpretation: develop a range of interpretive programmes and services that helps to foster a better understanding and appreciation of the collection and the visual arts in general.

The Gallery will:

Provide a detailed brief for Education Services as part of the MDP.

Expand community outreach programmes to include follow-up services.

Develop interpretative programmes and materials for the pre-school, formal school and third level sector.

Devise initiatives in the area of older people programmes and lifelong learning

Explore initiatives for young people aged 12-18.

Enhance development of graduate internships and course placements with academic institutions.

4.2 Physical environment: Ensure the Gallery's physical environment meets world-class standards.

The completion of the Gallery's Millennium Wing provided enormous benefits for the Gallery and its public. However, the need for additional accommodation remains acute. The Master Development Programme will address these deficiencies by providing purpose-built facilities for Conservation, Education, and the Library, while simultaneously attending to the refurbishment of the historic building.

The Gallery will:

Progress the development of the Master Development Plan in a timely and efficient manner.

Optimise the available space in the main Gallery complex for the display and care of the collection, relocating support services to appropriate adjacent accommodation wherever possible.

Provide environmental conditions and energy efficient technology throughout the Gallery for the display and care of the collection to reflect current international standards.

Enhance physical access throughout the Gallery complex.

Employ the latest technology and future-proof installations where appropriate.

Establish a Service Level Maintenance Agreement with OPW.

Continually adjust the Rescue and Recovery Plan to take emerging risks into account.

4.3 Technology: Ensure that access to the Collection is supported by the most up-to-date and appropriate technology.

The Gallery will:

Modify the Gallery website.

Present the entire collection on the website on a phased basis.

Provide access to the VR Gallery on the website.

Establish an online presence for Research Services.

Establish an online presence for Education Services.

Review and expand the provision of multi-interpretive services including the audio guide throughout the Gallery.

Expand the audio guide categories and translate commentaries into additional languages.

Develop the use of flat screen and emerging technologies to support visitors.


4.4 Visitor Services: ensure the best possible visitor experience is provided for the public.

The Gallery will:

Ensure the Gallery is equipped with amenities appropriate to current public needs and that all systems meet public expectations.

Provide accurate up-to-date information for visitors.

Train and equip staff to serve the public.

Develop a comprehensive Volunteer programme supporting Gallery activities.

Draft a Volunteers' Charter and providing training and support for Volunteers.


Key Objective 5: Optimise revenue opportunities

5.1 Trading: Increase the trading potential of the Gallery's commercial activities.

The Gallery will:

Review and improve the design and layout of the Gallery Shop.

Introduce a fresh range of publications and merchandise.

Consider requirements for the management of events in the brief being supplied for the MDP.

Devise an event's policy.

Optimise the potential of the Picture Library operation including the provision of online access to its catalogue.

5.2 Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland: Enhance the role of the Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland.

The Gallery will:

Implement the recommendations of the recent Review of the Friends.

Develop a strategy to broaden the demographics and increase the membership.

Review the policy on Patrons and Corporate membership.

Develop a strategy for the use of Volunteers to support the operation of the Friends Office and events.

Review accommodation for the Friends.

Key Objective 6: Ensure that the Gallery has the competencies, resources and management structures necessary to operate to the highest standards.

Fundamental changes are occurring in the museum sector worldwide. Instead of concentrating efforts internally on the growth and care of collections, museums increasingly see themselves as institutions that aspire to provide a valuable and essential service to the public.

The increasing sophistication and professionalism of the museum sector now requires many new competencies, while the traditional ones continue to play an essential role. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on areas such as research, event management, visitor services, marketing, collaboration with other institutions new technologies and management skills. There is a critical need to be able to introduce change as a matter of course so as to be responsive to challenges and opportunities as they arise. To achieve the progress necessary to ensure this objective, the Gallery will continue to develop its management structures and promote flexible and responsive decision-making processes.

6.1 Structure and Systems: Ensure the Gallery has the appropriate legal and organisational structure and the process and systems necessary to operate to the highest possible standards.

The Gallery will:

Implement new working practices in consultation with staff.

Continue to monitor and update the Gallery's Risk Management Process.

Ensure that Corporate Governance complies with best practice.

Develop and implement a Child Protection Policy and Guidelines.

Promote the Partnership process.

Ensure compliance with Government directives and programmes.


6.2 Human Resources: Optimise the contribution of staff to the achievement of the Gallery's objectives.

The Gallery will:

Manage the Human Resource implications of the MDP.

Develop a comprehensive HR Policy Framework to support best practice in HR management.

Introduce an appropriate HR information system.

Progress the implementation of the Performance Management Development System (PDMS), including its integration with HR processes in accordance with General Council Report 1452.

Promote full engagement by management and staff in new Partnership structures and processes.

Undertake an Employee Satisfaction Survey.

Promote and facilitate training, personal development and up-skilling.

Progress delivery on the Public Service modernisation agenda under the Social Partnership Agreement (Towards 2016).


6.3 Financial resources: Ensure that all units have adequate resources to carry out their functions.

The Gallery will:

Devise and implement a budgetary control and reporting system.

Formalise a financial planning system within the Gallery.

Introduce payment systems that facilitate Gallery operations.

6.4 An integrated technology plan: Ensure that an integrated, co-ordinated approach to technology is implemented in the short term.

The Gallery will:

Upgrade the Gallery's IT systems.

Enhance the provision of security and back-up systems.

Facilitate flexible work practices and remote access operations.

Develop a Gallery Intranet service to facilitate internal communications.