The Building and Architecture

View from second floor Natural History Museum

Often described as a 'museum of a museum', the Natural History building was originally built as an extension to Leinster House.

Who designed the building?

The museum building was designed by architect Frederick Clarendon in harmony with the National Gallery on the other side of Leinster Lawn, designed at the same time.

Why are some animals facing backwards?

In 1909 a new entrance was constructed at the east end of the Museum facing Merrion Street, thus reversing the direction from which visitors had approached the exhibitions. This is why some of the large exhibits still face what appears today to be the back of the building (pictured above). It was too difficult to turn whales and elephants around to face the new entrance.

Who is the statue of at the front of the Museum?

Natural History Exterior
Thomas Heazle Parke stands guard at the front of the building. Parke acted as surgeon to an expedition led by Henry Morton Stanley in 1887.

The expedition crossed Africa on an 8,000 kilometre journey up the Congo and through the Ituri rainforest before reaching Lake Albert.

Read more about Surgeon-Major T.H. Parke and a conservation project in the Museum for some of his clothing and equipment.

Find out more about the history and architecture of the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History.

Want a Quick Spin Around?

Check out 360° views of the building and exhibitions in Natural History:

360° Exhibition Images
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