Museums & Archive

Museums & Archive Content

Collections of diverse objects such as books, coins, vintage cars, boats and farm machinery provide a link with our past. The preservation of such collections is an important part our Museums and Archive work.

Waterford Museum of Treasures: Harp Conservation

This harp belonged to William Vincent Wallace, one of Ireland's best-known and best-loved operatic composers. Wallace was a music teacher at Thurles Convent and taught a young novice named Isabella Kelly to play on this harp. William and Isabella fell in love and were married in 1830. They did so on the condition that William convert to Catholicism and take the name Vincent, after the Mother Superior of the convent. His song 'Tis the Harp in the Air' was written for and played on this actual harp.

The harp, made in Dublin in the 1820s has been conserved by Letterfrack Conservation to playing standard. It will go on display in Waterford Museum of Treasures in a 19th century room dedicated to music, along with a display of objects on Wallace, whose house is still standing opposite the museum. Waterford Museum of Treasures received €8,000 in grant-aid from the Heritage Council in 2012 towards the harp's conservation. The museum hopes that it will be used quite often - the guides have been trained to sing some of Wallace's more popular arias.  

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This project received €8,000 in grant-aided under the Heritage Management Scheme 2012.