Decanting the ‘Dead Zoo’

8 Sep 2020

The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History is a much beloved space for young and old in Ireland. Built in 1856 it has fantastic exhibitions and a collection that is both rare and invaluable to our knowledge of the world around us, past and present.

Under the National Museum of Ireland’s Master Plan, the Dead Zoo, as it is colloquially referred to by many, and its historical building is due for repair and renovation. As part of the first projects to take place, the Victorian glass roof will need to be repaired and renovated. These renovations will accommodate for the contemporary use of the building as well as the protection and preservation of specimens exhibited within the building. In order to safely accomplish this architectural task, all vulnerable collections and furniture within the building’s upper balconies will need to be removed and transferred to a safe location over the coming months.

Through a procurement process we are delighted to announce that Maurice Ward Art Handling has been selected to provide our services for the decant process of the Natural History collection. A team of experienced art technicians, conservators and documentation experts have been brought together to safely handle this monumental task over the coming months. We will be assisting in the move of specimens large and small, contained in liquids or preserved in the most curious of ways.

We are excited to be working alongside the National Museum of Ireland’s, specialist staff on this engaging decant and transport process. We look forward to seeing the Dead Zoo and all its collections back in this historical and renovated building soon.


In the meantime, do keep an eye out on our social media platforms (Twitter: @mwarthandling or Instagram: @mauricewardarthandling) for images of curious objects and the decant progress involving our services in object handling, stabilisation, packing and safe transport for the National Museum of Ireland. Likewise check out, on Twitter: @NMIreland@KeeperNH and #DeadZooDiary

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