The Collins Barracks Museum is located in the Old Guard Room inside the old Main Entrance Gate to Collins Barracks. Designed by John Gibson in 1806 the Old Guard Room was the main security room of the Barracks andhas a fine archway and hallway where the guard on duty would have kepthis horse. The building has been renovated in recent times and includes an enclosed glass section to allow for observation of the Barracks Parade Ground. In 1985 as part of the Cork 800 celebrations, a memorial museum and reference library were established. The museum is dedicated to the memory of those members who died performing their duty. In 2005 this Museum was relocated to the Old Guard Room.
The museum exhibits have 3 themes: the History of the Barracks, Michael Collins and Peacekeeping. The core collection consists of memorabilia associated with Michael Collins and also has displays from donated private collections. The exterior layout presents a Shaker cannon from the 1550s, arare mobile ordnance workshop, a 2 pounder 1940s field artillery piece anda Panhard Armoured Personnel Carrier.
The Barracks building is a fine example of Georgian Architecture. It is also significant from a historic perspective. The fine limestone gateway has beenthe focal point of historic events in Ireland since the time of the Crimean War in 1856 with the return of the 17 Lancers after the Battle of Balaclava. It was the location for the handing over of the Barracks from the British Government to Commandant Sean Murray of the Irish Army in 1922, and was visited by President Kennedy in 1963.
In the present time the Barracks has continued to transform to meet the needs of the garrison with a new Dining Complex and Mess opened in recent times.