Posts Tagged ‘Natural History Museum’

Behind the scenes at the Dublin Natural History Museum

20 April 2010

By Juliana Adelman

Cleaning glass and dusting are activities that I avoid in my own house, but for some reason in the context of the Dublin Natural History Museum they seemed like fun.  Last Friday Ciarán Wallace and I spent the day getting a completely different perspective on my favourite Dublin cultural institution.  The museum is to open on the 29th of April after three years and I am glad to say that nothing much will have changed except the paint.  They also have a nice new structurally sound staircase.  Unfortunately the downturn in public finances spelled the end for the museum’s renovation project which would have added disabled access, a cafe, a separate education room and proper toilets.  Despite this disappointment I am delighted to see the museum reopening and am glad it will retain its Victorian character.  I thought I would share some photos from our day of dusting and scrubbing.  I had the bizarre experience of looking at the museum from inside the glass cases while the animals sat outside!  Seeing the specimens out of context confirmed for me the degree to which the display structures of the traditional cabinet museum present a particular message to the viewer.  Although innovative taxidermy towards the close of the nineteenth century posed animals in family groups or in active scenes (the museum has a few bloody examples of animals eating prey), there is no question that animals in glass boxes do not trouble you with their gaze in quite the same way.  Anyway, read on to enjoy a different perspective on the museum.  Read More

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

11 May 2009

By Juliana Adelman

dead zoo After more than 150 years in the same home the Dublin Natural History Museum is on the move. Due to the deterioration of their building on Merrion Square and the postponed project to rehabilitate it, the Dead Zoo has moved part of its collections to the Decorative Arts and History department in Collins Barracks (Museum stop on the Red Line Luas). I visited it yesterday and although it is a very nice exhibit and an excellent way of keeping the museum’s collections available to the public, I despair at the thought that the museum may never be reopened in its original building. Read More