Seven years ago a small red exercise book was put on display in the Little Museum of Dublin. A sticker announces its purpose: “Laundry Lists Writing-In Book.”
The artefact was ignored by most visitors, which is hardly surprising. At first glance the contents are innocuous, for the copybook contains only a list of names: of families, companies, schools, clubs, religious orders and State institutions. They were clients of the largest Magdalene laundry in Ireland.
In the museum, small objects are used to tell a larger story – about Dublin, about Ireland and about the large, very odd family to which we all belong. But in trying to record our complex shared history, we also want to be inclusive. Some visitors are religious, others are not. Most people come to be entertained as much as educated.
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