Exterior of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University. Photographer Robert Benson.

About the Museum

Carret icon

Our Mission

Our Mission

The mission of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is to collect, preserve, exhibit and study its collection of art, artifacts and literature related to the Irish Famine/Great Hunger that occurred from 1845–52. In doing so, it seeks to educate audiences of all ages about the underlying political, social, economic and historic causes of the Great Hunger, and the magnitude of the disaster on Ireland and its people. The museum contains the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art by noted contemporary Irish and Irish American artists as well as a number of period paintings by some of Ireland’s most important 19th-century artists.



By John L. Lahey, President Emeritus, Quinnipiac University

In 1997 I had the honor to serve as Grand Marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I made Ireland’s Great Hunger the theme of that year’s parade to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Black ’47, the worst year of the Irish Famine. During the months leading up to the parade, I made many public appearances and gave many speeches on the Great Hunger. The late Murray Lender, a Quinnipiac University alumnus and vice chairman of our Board of Trustees, listened to those speeches about the Great Hunger and its devastating effect on Ireland and the Irish people.

More clearly than many others, Murray grasped the compelling nature of the Great Hunger story and the importance of educating people about its true causes and consequences. Murray’s vision and the generous financial support of both Murray and his brother, Marvin, led to the creation of the Lender Family Special Collection Room, An Gorta Mór, in the Arnold Bernhard Library on our Mount Carmel Campus. This initial collection of art, research and educational materials has been augmented during the past 20 years and now represents the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art and educational resources.

The educational and research materials for students and scholars will continue to be housed in the library and its Lender Family Special Collection Room. However, the valuable art collection, which has grown both in quantity and quality, now needs and deserves an entire building of its own, particularly one more open and accessible to the general public. The university’s new Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Múseam An Ghorta Mhóir, on Whitney Avenue in Hamden, Connecticut, provides just such an ideal facility and location.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum will strengthen and advance the university’s commitment to educate more and more people about the Great Hunger and the lessons to be learned from this terrible human rights tragedy. The museum also will develop into a truly great museum of art, educating people about the high quality of Irish art. In so doing, it will place Quinnipiac University once again in the company of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning, many of which possess significant university art collections and museums.

A photo of a statue head, starts video

Selected Press

Selected Press

Irish Times, February 2018
"The Famine: artists and the nightmare of our 'crushed and bleeding soul'"

Connecticut Magazine, March 2017
"Our Irish Soul: How the Irish Shaped Connecticut, and Vice Versa"

The New York Times, February 2016
"The Artist Who Dared to Paint Ireland's Great Famine"

Galway Advertiser, January 2016
"The Famine - Gaeilge's Armageddon?"

The Irish Times, November 2015
"Famine Essays Resonate with Contemporary Events"

News 8 WTNH-TV, March 2015
"Tour Irish Culture at QU's Great Hunger Museum"

The Irish Times, December 2014
"Culture Shock: We're Big Enough to Handle the Truth About our History"

WNPR, March 2014
"Remembering Ireland's Great Hunger"

FOX CT News, March 2014
"Ireland's Great Hunger Museum in Hamden"

Boston Globe, April 2013
"In Hamden, a Museum Dedicated to Ireland's Great Hunger"

Forbes Magazine, March 2013
"From Coffin Ships to Triumph Abroad, Museums Tell of Ireland's Haunting Diaspora"

New York Times, January 2013
"Mournful, Angry Views of Ireland's Famine: A Review of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, in Hamden"

General inquiries can be directed to 203-582-6500 or ighm@qu.edu.