Documentation Discoveries

documentation teams working on the collections
Find out about rare objects, exciting collections and unusual specimens discovered in the course of the museum’s Five Year Inventory Project. 
Plaster cast of Moa bird's skull
An Extinct Moa Bird from New Zealand

Fossil of a very large, flightless bird, native to New Zealand and made extinct about 600 years ago.

Diptych Sundial
Diptych Sundial

A diptych sundial from Co. Monaghan, dated 1839

Tobacco box
The Dutchman’s Log Box

Perpetual calendar and speed chart engraved on tobacco box, dated 1729.

Kilkenny Cathedral's stained glass
Medieval Painted Glass from St Canice’s Cathedral, Co. Kilkenny

A collection of painted and stained glass fragments has helped piece together the remains of a shattered history and a lost museum.

Jane Stephens
Jane Stephens, 1879-1959: Naturalist and Museum Worker

Rebecca O’Neill traces the remarkable career of Jane Stephens, one of Ireland's pioneer female scientists.

Close up of a razor
Two Razors and Case

Joanne Hamilton tells the story behind a pair of identical bone-handled cut throat razors, made in Clonmel and reportedly the possession of Hugh Hamill, a 1798 rebel.

Ivory Tau Crozier
Two Tau Croziers: Coptic or Armenian?

Sharon Weadick examines two tau croziers, unique in the National Museum’s collection and recorded as Coptic in origin.

Stargazer from Indonesia, of a new species discovered during the Challenger Expedition
Zoological Specimens from the Challenger Expedition 1872-1876

Sylviane Vaucheret introduces specimens collected during the voyage of HMS Challenger, an expedition often considered the origin of modern oceanography.

Print depicting scenes of travel by Bianconi car in 1856 - Dropping a Passenger
Bianconi Pre-Rail Travel in Nineteenth Century Ireland

Set of six prints depicting scenes of travel by Bianconi car in mid-19th century Ireland

Witch ball
Witch Ball

A brightly coloured glass sphere, of the type often hung in the windows of homes in England in the 18th Century to ward off evil spirits and witches.

Figure 1 - Cranial Amulets
Two Cranial Amulets from Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

A submerged village near Onnens, Lake Neuchâtel reveals its secrets and offers a compelling insight into long-forgotten traditions of European Neolithic society.

black ore metaultrabasite
Smerwick Harbour’s Black Ore

An ancient rock, thought to be of great value, brought across the ocean from the New World over 400 years ago…

Set of nine Richard King postcards
Set of religious postcards

A set of nine postcards by Mayo born artist Richard King, depicting various Irish Saints published by The Capuchin Annual in the 1940’s.

Dugong on display in the Natural History Museum
An Australian Dugong

A large marine mammal from Queensland donated to the Museum in 1890

Bronze Age Bowl
Bronze Age Ribbed Bowl

The Bronze Age vessel that came in from the cold.

Whaling Hat - detail of whales
Nuu-chah-nulth Whaling Hat

This object is believed to have been brought back from Captain Cook’s third voyage, in 1776 - 1780, by Captain James King, and was catalogued in the course of documenting the Museum’s Ethnographical collections in 2004.

Post Office Rule Book
Rule Book for the Rural Postman, 1921

A pre-Irish Free State rule book for rural postmen issued in 1921 and amended and used until the 1950s.

Roman Lar figurine
A Roman figurine

The curious case of the little Roman figurine found in the River Boyne.

Specimens from three Irish factory ships collected during the Antarctic whaling boom
Relics of the Irish whaling industry

Specimens from three Irish factory ships collected during the Antarctic whaling boom

Overview of sampler
A Nineteenth Century Sampler

A sampler made by Elenor Hickey aged 14, dating to 1838 with a macabre rhyme embroidered onto it.

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