A Monumental Legacy: Archbishop John J. Hughes and The Building of St. Patrick’s Cathedral


We were commissioned to create an original exhibit at the Consulate General of Ireland to tell the extraordinary story of Archbishop John J. Hughes, a towering 19th century Irish immigrant and the Irish Diaspora who built St. Patrick’s Cathedral on grounds that were, at the time, the rural outskirts of the city. The exhibit also featured a selection of complementary paintings from the private art collection of Irish-American businessman Brian P. Burns. After its run at the Consulate General of Ireland, the exhibit then moved to St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral Gallery, in Lower Manhattan, as part of the Bicentennial Celebration of the construction of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.

We were responsible for all aspects of the exhibit’s design and its immersive environment, through the organization and display of illustrative, photographic and editorial content. The panels that told Hughes’s story were constructed with cut-out images, affixed with two inch backing to float above the background to give the displays depth. Vinyl prints were used to cover glass doors and sections of walls to bring the surroundings to life. In addition, we created all the promotional material associated with the exhibit: posters; brochures about both Archbishop Hughes and the Brian P. Burns Collection; postcards; press kits; and magazine special features. When the exhibit moved to Old St. Patrick’s we designed a display case with maquettes of the Archbishop Hughes bicentennial sculptures by Irish artist, Rowan Gillespie.