Whale of a time at Dead Zoo

A TV programme tonight looks at renovation work at the Natural History Museum
Whale of a time at Dead Zoo

Renovation work in the Natural History Museum

IN 2020, the Natural History Museum in Dublin, popularly known as ‘the Dead Zoo’, closed for renovations.

It needs a new roof – which sounds straightforward enough. But first its staff had to figure out what to do with the two enormous whale skeletons that have hung from the old roof since the 1890s.

The curators, Nigel Monaghan and Paolo Viscardi, took on this enormous task in the depths of Covid lockdown, and using all their skill, as well as saws, drills and other unlikely tools, over a six-month period, managed to disassemble the two whales.

The Dead Zoo, on RTÉ1 on Monday at 6.30pm, narrated by Brendan Gleeson, shows the fascinating process, filled with tension and interest.

It’s a timely film as the museum reopens to visitors on August 2, although only the ground floor will be accessible to the public while the renovation works continue on the first floor.

However, there’s lots to see on the ground floor, including Irish animals like the iconic Giant Irish Deer, a selection of Blaschka glass models and the fascinating ‘Wonder Cabinet’.

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