Anne M O Byrne: Development of “Rotunda Birth of a Nation” ; 1916 Centenary Exhibition at the Rotunda.
Anne is Head Librarian in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin. A graduate of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, she holds a BSc Econ in Information and Information Studies and an MSc Econ in Health Information Management. As a professional Librarian she is committed to the equal provision of information services to all categories of users and has a particular professional interest in developing outreach programmes and remote services to facilitate end-user training. She sees the role of librarians as being in partnership with lecturers, teachers and students in advancing learning and knowledge. Her role as custodian of historical memorabilia has progressed during her term as Librarian in the Rotunda Hospital, and in her development of the Bartholomew Mosse Tercentenary Exhibition to mark Mosse’s life as founder of the first “Lying-in Hospital”.
To coincide with the 1916 Centenary celebrations in Dublin, the Rotunda Hospital hosted an Exhibition entitled “ Rotunda Birth of a Nation” . This Exhibition acknowledged the role of five extraordinary 1916 medical women who supported the women and babies of Dublin at time of turmoil .
A group was formed in September 2015, comprised of a multi-disciplinary team headed by the Rotunda’s Head Librarian, Anne M O Byrne and assisted by Sinead McCoole, as Curatorial Advisor to the Group.
Over the period (October 2015 to February 2016), Committee worked with its various partners to develop high quality graphic displays to represent the role of each of these
women in the Rotunda. They became three medical doctors : Bridget Lyons Thornton, Kathleen Lynn, Dorothy Stopford Price and through collaboration with Abbeyleix Heritage Trust the life of Mary O Shea, nurse/Midwife. The final nurse was Albinia Brodrick whose connections became apparent through the joint research of the Historian and Librarian, a unique collaboration.
In addition to the physical Exhibition a serious of lunchtime talks were hosted during the
Exhibition. The Exhibition was well attended with a total footfall of 3053 visitors through the doors of the Rotunda. Work has already commenced on the future role of this Exhibition and its inclusion on the Rotunda Online Exhibition site at www.rotunda.ie