Heritage Room Upgrade
Funds raised at the 2020 Good Cup of Tea events will contribute to the Heritage Room Upgrade. The intention is to redesign the room with the use of fixed panels to extend the display area available and enable more of the early story of Mercy to be told through the displays. The panels are to include a number of touch screens, allowing some of the heritage resources from the different Mercy Congregations worldwide to be show-cased. These pandemic days have emphasised for us the importance of making the rich Mercy heritage available to those unable to visit the Centre in person. Enhancing this capacity will be central to the re-design.
Mercy International Centre holds a precious collection of artefacts associated with Catherine McAuley. A number of very special items are on permanent loan to the Centre, including Catherine’s Profession Ring and her cincture.
Additionally, the documentation and story of the formation of Mercy International Association in 1992 is part of the archival collection.
The Heritage Room now needs to cater for a new generation of pilgrims to the Centre who are familiar with and attracted by modern technology as well as the written word. The intention is to redesign the room with the use of fixed panels to extend the display area available and enable more of the early story of Mercy to be told through the displays. The panels are to include a number of touch screens allowing some of the heritage resources from the different Mercy Congregations worldwide to be show-cased.
The provision of a large touch screen will mean immediate access to the letters of Catherine and provide the ability to sort the letters by destination of the letter, the recipient of it and other interesting features. There is potential to expand this to also display some of the letters of the other early women of Mercy who travelled the world and continued the letter writing tradition of Catherine McAuley as they established Congregations.
Part of the Heritage room is currently a replica of a small hovel depicting the types of homes that the Sisters visited in the early days of the Congregation. This room will become a venue for a multimedia experience with videos and displays that enable the visitors to have a clearer, more immediate understanding what life was like in 19th Century Dublin.
In 2018 we received a generous seed donation which enabled Mercy International Association to commence the digitalization of the Archival Collection through online Preservica software. The Preservica Platform enables each collection item to be identified using several ‘tags’ which can later be accessed through a comprehensive search system.
This accessibility will allow visitors to filter and view elements of the collection that are most relevant to them, as well as ensuring that the original documents are protected for future generations. When visiting the Centre, visitors can view physical heritage items in the collection which are on show in display cabinets. However, this limits the experience for the visitor to what is on display at the time of their visit.
This digitalization process needs to continue. Whilst a significant portion of the collection has been digitalized already, with your gift, Mercy International Association would be able to undertake the next stage of making the resources accessible to all.
The plan is to install several interactive electronic displays so that visitors to Mercy International Centre can explore the rich heritage that is part of the collection.
Following on from this we plan to utilize the skills of individuals within the Mercy world to research and identify links between the heritage stories, the works of Mercy that the early Mercy community engaged in, and those that are occurring throughout the Mercy world today, particularly through the advocacy work coordinated by the Mercy International Association Global Action team and associates.
Our vision is that by 2027, when we celebrate 200 years of the opening of the House of Mercy, the experience for those who visit the Centre, and those who engage with us through an online platform, will be an immersive encounter. This will open to them an exploration of the rich Mercy heritage throughout the entire House, and the contemporary ways Mercy is being expressed through the works of Sisters, Associates and Partners-in- Mercy throughout the world.