Presenting the past to the public

Spotlight on our history research

Research at LJMU is working on ways of presenting the past and creating content for historic sites and museums across Ireland and the rest of the globe. 

Professor of Public History, Gillian O’Brien's research is looking into how history is told to the general public and how to bring stories alive, making them more engaging and accessible.  

The presenting the past project has involved working with and researching: 

  • Marginalised histories 

  • Prison museums and fortresses 

  • Convents and the role of women in religion, particularly in Ireland 

Gillian has looked at 300 museums across Ireland, researching ways of integrating stories in a more natural way rather than just having stand-alone exhibitions. 

One way of doing this is to create museums or exhibitions within fortresses, prisons or the environment itself where significant events in history took place. 

Gillian said: “Going to see a prison or former fortress and the authenticity of being in the historic place where people lived, died or pivotal action took place, makes learning about history a must more immersive and memorable experience for patrons.” 

The research project has so far been highly successful with many of the immersive museums winning awards and employment opportunities being created within the new museums. The project which aims to connect the public to history in “an unusual but deeply fascinating way” has also published open access guides for people thinking about setting up their own museums. 

The next stage of the research is already underway with Gillian working with the Irish Heritage Council mapping where convents were and their evolution across the country. 

Research at LJMU  

You can find out more about research at LJMU on the Impact Hub. 


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