Keepers of the steps

About Keepers

Keepers of the Steps is a special cultural program of the United Irish Cultural Center of San Francisco that manages, curates, and promotes local Irish step dance history and stories, memorabilia, and ephemera. Committed to exploring the history of Irish step dance in the San Francisco Bay Area dating as far back as the Gold Rush in the 1850s, the collection celebrates the roots, rhythms, and rituals of one of the most enduring traditions of our Irish heritage.





keepers of the steps


What started as a grass-roots cultural programming plan conceived of by Anne Cassidy Carew to create an historical exhibition has grown into important documentary and preservation work. According to program director Eileen Mize, herself a proud alumnus of the area’s McBride School of Irish Dance, there is a sense of urgency in collecting stories. “Since Irish step dancing is largely an oral tradition passed on from one generation to the next, it is critical to capture these stories from first-hand sources while these individuals are still able to share. In addition, we want people to know that the UICC is a repository for the odd pieces of dance related ephemera that may be collecting dust in the back of the garage—not just the dresses, but the feis programs and news clippings, medals and brooches—these objects illustrate these stories and serve as real glimpses into days gone by—we are connected by these shared experiences.”




Keepers of the Steps enjoyed a successful inaugural one-month exhibition in January 2022, and brought the show to a broader audience with a Pop-Up Exhibit at the Western Regional Oireachtas in November 2022, which was hosted in San Francisco. A virtual tour of their collection is in the works with a planned launch on International Irish Dance Day, September 17, 2023. As the program and reach expands with support from the Irish Government as well as a grant from the Dance Development Fund of An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, the program has begun forming collaborations and alliances with others interested in this type of research and preservation.

General Inquiries/Press

Arrange a Donation Drop-off


KEEpers of the steps committee

Committee Chair Eileen Mize; Anne Cassidy Carew; Noreen Boyle, TCRG; Ann Baglin;
Jennifer Drennan (Dowling Library, Librarian); Kathleen Martin McKeon; and Jamie O’Keefe

KEEPERS of the steps

Photo Gallery

Our Keepers of the Steps program runs on 100% volunteer power—we are so grateful! What a mighty crew of can-do creativity and cultural pride we have at the helm serving on our Keepers Committee—and big thanks go out to our volunteers who have lent a hand (or a dress!) in making our various exhibits and presentations possible.

KEEPERS of the steps

“Keep” in Touch!

Irish Dance museum collection celebrating the history of Irish step dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

KEEPERS of the steps


Calling all Irish Dance alumni! Round up your dance pals—Irish Dance pals are the best, right?

For those of you with an old Irish dance costume (of ANY vintage) lurking in the back of your closet, you can donate your old dress for display! Maybe you have the “pieces” of a dress that was never completed that needs a new home? We are interested in it all. Use the donation form on this page and be sure to reach out with any questions.


Please complete this form when preparing an item(s) for a donation to our collection. We thank you in advance for considering our collection when making decisions regarding Irish dance memorabilia. Forms can be turned in along with the item(s).





Contact Us

Questions, Contact Us!