Conn. AG probing closure of Quinnipiac’s Irish Hunger museum

October 30, 2021 GMT

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s attorney general is investigating the closure of Quinnipiac University’s Great Irish Hunger Museum, which shut its doors permanently in August after nine years dedicated to to study of what’s commonly known as the Irish potato famine.

Attorney General William Tong’s spokesperson Elizabeth Benton confirmed the probe to the New Haven Register on Thursday, saying in a statement: “we have an open and ongoing inquiry into this matter.”

Tong took up the investigation after a lawyer representing an organization dedicated to saving the Hamden museum sent a letter to his office, raising concerns about the prospect of museum artifacts being sold off.

The group, the Committee to Save the Great Irish Hunger Museum was planning a “salute to the museum” Saturday with Irish dancing, food and treats.

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A Quinnipiac spokesperson told the Register that the university is “not selling any” items and that it’s committed to finding a way to ensure the collection “remains publicly accessible, advances the museum’s original mission, and preserves the story of the Great Hunger.”

Morgan said the university is cooperating with the attorney general’s inquiry.

Morgan said Quinnipiac decided to close the museum because of funding shortfalls and a lack of interest from visitors. He told the Register that fundraising efforts only generated enough support to cover one-quarter of the museum’s operating budget and that a year before the COVID-19 it was averaging fewer than 20 visitors a day.