The redevelopment of the Natural History Museum building has been a priority for some years and has come more sharply into focus since a serious incident in July 2007. This necessitated the closure of the Natural History collection to the public until April 2010 following restoration works.
The full redevelopment project will provide for the careful conservation of the existing 1856 structure and construction of a new extension along the North Road to provide lifts, toilets, a shop, and a café. The project was allocated funding under the National Development Plan but this has been suspended. The integrity of the existing building and the Victorian style cabinet museum will be maintained within the new scheme.
The Museum is also proposing the provision of new gallery spaces under the front lawn of the site for a geology/earth science gallery. At present there are no funds available for this element of the project, however the Museum is continuing to explore ways in which this may be achieved.
The provision of new spaces under the lawn would allow the Museum to mount both new and temporary exhibitions, which it cannot do at present due to the constraints of the existing building. The mounting of new exhibitions would provide public access to the Museum’s geological collections, which are currently in storage. Planned exhibitions might include topical themes such as climate change and biodiversity loss. It is a responsibility of the National Museum of Ireland to promote public understanding of these important issues, something that is widely recognised in policy at national and European levels.