The Hunt Museum is a museum in the city of Limerick, Ireland. Holding a personal collection donated by the Hunt family, it was originally situated in the University of Limerick, before being moved to its present location in 1997. It can now be visited in the old custom house, an historic 18th century building by the River Shannon in Rutland Street, in central Limerick. The east end of Limerick's quays began at this area of the river, recently made home to a marina. The Hunt Museum holds about 2000 different artefacts, both from Ireland and abroad. The oldest pieces are from stone-age Ireland and ancient Egypt. The collection includes the Antrim Cross (a 9th century bronze and enamel cross), a small sketch by Picasso and a bronze horse from a design by Leonardo da Vinci for a large monument. One of the strengths of the collection is the medieval material, which include statues in stone and wood, painted panels, jewellery, enamels, ivories, ceramics, crystal and crucifixes.
As antique dealers and advisors to collectors, John and Gertrude Hunt built a thriving business and also began to acquire pieces that reflected their own interests and curiosity rather than for commercial purposes. During the latter stages of John's life, they became increasingly aware of the scale of their collection and wished that it would remain intact. They began to search for a permanent home for their collection. Fortunately they met Professor Patrick Doran of the National Institute of Higher Education (now University of Limerick) and Dr Edward Walsh, the Institute's President, who agreed to house a substantial part of the collection on a temporary basis. The Hunt Museum opened there in 1978 in an exhibition room with the display designed by architect Arthur Gibney.
The museum also has an excellent gift shop and restaurant. Get there early if you're going for lunch for a great view of the river. Many locals enjoy this jewel in Limerick and there is no admission charge to this part of the museum.