The Dead Zoon under theat?
April 26, 2006 at 6:19 am #708596Paul ClerkinKeymaster
Natural History Museum ‘in need of radical changes’
Dick Ahlstrom, Science Editor
Radical changes are required to improve facilities at the Natural History Museum on Merrion Square, Dublin, according to an independent report.
The museum needs an immediate increase in staffing levels and a near doubling of the space available if it is to meet international standards for such museums, the study, published yesterday by the Royal Irish Academy, said.
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism John O’Donoghue yesterday received a copy of the report. He acknowledged the important role played by the museum as a popular destination for visitors but also as a key scientific resource for the study of natural history and biodiversity.
The academy commissioned a group of experts to make recommendations about the future of the museum. The chairman of the group, former marine biologist Dr Christopher Moriarty, said that a lack of staff and space were the single greatest problems affecting its proper operation.
It recommended a doubling of expert staff and a four-fold increase in overall staff numbers. It also suggested a near doubling of space by building an extension in the gap between the museum and Government Buildings. This would provide a restaurant and shop, extra display space and a lift, which is lacking in the existing building.
The report also highlighted problems including a lack of adequate records on the two million specimens in the collection.
The museum “is considerably younger than Newgrange but is of similar importance”, Dr Moriarty said. It was developed during the time of Darwin, when the importance of biodiversity was beginning to emerge.
The report made no attempt to cost its recommendations, he said. Rather it represents a wish list of how to bring the facility up to accepted standards.
April 26, 2006 at 12:27 pm #777521GregFParticipant
This is a great auld museum. It’s rather cluttered, quirky, antiquated Victorian atmosphere is a rarity there days. I’d hate to see them ‘jazz’ it up, or to put it bluntly, allow the botchers to fuck up the interior.
(Although the revamp that the other museums got in recent years are cool.)
April 26, 2006 at 12:49 pm #777522-Donnacha-Participant
The museum is itself now a museum piece. I don’t think they’d be allowed radically alter what’s already there.
April 26, 2006 at 2:15 pm #777523RadioactivemanParticipant
This is a fantastic museum of a museum which does what it says on the tin!! no lazers, no animatronic dinosaurs, just classic displays and a vast collection. You cant argue with the need for extra staff and a general clean-up, but any extension should be distinct from the ‘old’ museum and should not alter the character of this scientific gem, And best of all its free to get in!!
April 26, 2006 at 4:27 pm #777524LottsParticipant
I’d love to see the gift shop moved out to an extension anyway. The dramatic entrace that was dominated by the giant elks, lost some of it’s awe when they were moved back and a gift shop inserted.
I love the museum – it’s like exploring in some half forgotten attic in your eccentric (but imaginary) uncles mansion.
April 26, 2006 at 7:54 pm #777525GrahamHParticipant
😀 Yes that just about sums it up.
Wonderful place, however the director did stress that any alterations made would be in the form of additions to the building, and that the original part would conserved pretty much as it is.
A big problem is the lack of flexibility the current space offers – as mentioned, only a tiny fraction of the two million specimen collection is on display. I’d imagine there’s little scope for much rotation with the current state of things.
Lovely building too – much more attractive in its orginal modest form than the bloated National Gallery across the way, though the blind windows at ground level are a shame.
It was cleaned by the OPW last year and looks better still now.
April 27, 2006 at 5:43 pm #777526Paul ClerkinKeymaster
Should the Natural History Museum be developed?
April 27, 2006 at 6:36 pm #777527AnonymousParticipant
unless it becomes a toll plaza for the Leinster Lawn Carpark
April 28, 2006 at 11:31 pm #777528lostexpectationParticipant
Is there no plan for another large! natural history museum elsewhere in Dublin or Ireland in fact. Decentralise the museums!
April 29, 2006 at 1:44 am #777529PTBParticipant
I hope to God this museum isn’t extended. This musuem is one of a kind and my favourite building in dublin. I love it’s quaintness and how eccentric it is with all of the animals turned the wrong way round on the first floor. I think some historian commended the Irish government for doing nothing at all for 80 years on this building thus preserving it’s Victorian beauty. It is a musuem of a musuem in fact. There was a very interesting radio documentary on it some time back on radio1. Very interesting. More staff is fine just don’t go knocking duwn walls and tearing out old cases for teh sake of it.
April 29, 2006 at 6:02 am #777530GrahamHParticipant
From all the coverage of this report, the provision of a restaurant and shop bizarrely seem to be top priority for any extension plans, though that’s probably just the papers’ spin on things.
I wonder if the (eventual) reinstatement of Leinster Lawn would offer the opportunity for excavations under the lawn for further storage, labs and even exhibition areas, rather than filling in part of the space next to Govt Buildings (although this overground area would still be preferable for restaurant facilites). Considering most museums try to avoid windows, going underground shouldn’t really be an issue. Perfect for controalled and safe storage of specimens too, like the IAA 🙂
May 2, 2006 at 11:40 pm #777531notjimParticipant
The report and the discussion at its launch did aknowledge the value of the museum as a museum of a museum and expressed the firm intention to preserve that. What is also important is that we have a good natural history musuem as well; where are the fossils for example, where is the ant farm, where are the travelling displays, where are the childrens labs, where are the special exhibitions, where in the current museum is that actual information? The current musuem needs to be preserved, but we also need a natural history museum.
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