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Reopening FAQs

FAQs for Natural History Reopening

When will you be re-opening?
We are re-opening the ground floor of NMI-Natural History on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 at 10am. 

Is the Museum fully re-opening? / What can I see?
We have reopened the ground floor only of the museum and you’ll be able to see the Irish Animals, including our iconic Giant Irish Deer, a selection of our Blaschka glass models and the Wonder Cabinet, with its hands on display for inquisitive young minds.
Further information can be found here

Do I need to pre-book a ticket to visit NMI-Natural History?
Yes, you will need to book a free ticket for your visit. We are using a booking system because the capacity of the museum building is limited. Booking helps us to manage numbers and keep our staff and visitors safe.
Please visit our website and book a ticket online
If you have booked a ticket and cannot come, just email us at to let us know, so we can release your tickets and someone else can visit.

Is my ticket linked to a particular time of entrance?
Yes, your ticket will be linked to an entrance time. Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your allocated time so we can manage any queues.
If you have a particular access requirement, please email us in advance at

How much is a child’s/adult's ticket?
Entrance to the museum is free, but if you would like to support our work, you can make a donation online or when you visit.
How long will my visit take?
Your visit should take approximately 45 minutes.
Will the Museum have a late evening opening?
Yes, we will be open until 8pm every Thursday for the month of August. NMI - Archaeology at Kildare St and NMI - Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks are also open late on Thursday throughout August.
Can groups visit?
We will not be able to facilitate onsite group bookings when we first reopen. We will be exploring the options for group visits to the Natural History site later in the Autumn. There is a selection of Natural History science and art themed online activities available on the museum website. Currently there is a maximum of 6 persons allowed per booking.
Groups can visit our other Dublin sites at NMI – Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks and NMI – Archaeology at Kildare Street or our NMI – Country Life site in Turlough Park, Co. Mayo.
Can I have a tour?
Guided tours are not available at the moment, but you can tour the building virtually on our website.
What is there for families to do?
We have activity sheets for younger visitors to enjoy, including the trail ‘Busy Bees’ and ‘My Favourite Animal’. You can pick up a copy at our reception area. Don’t Forget Your Pencil!
Can I touch any of the displays?
Most of our displays are very fragile and should not be touched, but our Wonder Cabinet has some specially selected objects that you can touch, from the softest fur to a piece of Giant Deer fossil over 10,000 years old. You find more information here.
Why is only the ground floor open?
The rest of the Museum is a building site, enabling investigative work on the roof. The Office of Public Works (OPW) have built a roof access platform underneath the glass ceiling to investigate the roof and understand the structure of the building, which is over 160 years old. The work needed to fix this Victorian museum will take some time and is part of a larger-scale refurbishment project of the entire building, which is planned under the National Development Plan. You can visit the first floor online.
Why were you shut for so long and why can’t we see the animals upstairs?
The work we have been carrying out over the last two years has been to enable a bespoke platform to be inserted into the building just below the roof. This will enable investigative roof works to occur. Our Natural History Team spent almost a year carefully packing and moving over twenty thousand specimens, including our whale skeletons and Spotticus the giraffe, from the upper galleries and first floor, so they would be safe while the building phase of the work took place. That building phase lasted until the end of June 2022 and since then we have been working to get the ground floor ready to reopen.
Find out more on our Tales of the Decant webpage, where you can hear about the work that took place behind the scenes.
When will the first floor be open again?
The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History was built in 1856 and has changed very little in the last 166 years. The building is showing its age and work is now underway to address some of the problems – in particular the roof. This work will take some time. We will be keeping our visitors updated on the progress of this exciting project.
Is the Museum now fully wheelchair accessible?
The ground floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible. We will be making the first floor of the museum accessible as part of our re-development project.
Is sketching permitted in the galleries?
Yes. We are delighted to see people sketching our specimens.
Be mindful of the view of other visitors and please be aware for the present all groups, including groups wishing to sketch, cannot visit.
Is photography permitted in the galleries?
Yes, we encourage photography but we don’t have space for tripods and please don’t use flash photography.
Are there dinosaurs?
When the dinosaurs were alive, Ireland was under the ocean, so there are almost no dinosaur fossils found in Ireland and we don’t have any dinosaur fossils on display. However, we do have a lot of birds on display, from tiny wrens to huge eagles, and they are all the modern descendants of the dinosaurs. We do also have some fossils on display in the Irish Room, like our iconic Giant Irish Deer.
How do I learn about upcoming onsite and online events and tours?
To discover online events and onsite updates about plans for events check the Events Section.

Teachers, check out the online schools' programmes and updates for site visits.

To keep up to date and be one of the first to know about forthcoming events sign up to the newsletter here.
Why is the basking shark still falling apart?
While we were closed, our work was focussed on moving over twenty thousand objects from the upper floors of the Museum. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to conserve some of our historic specimens like the basking shark, which will need specialist repairs. If you would like to help us in funding this kind of work, please visit our donations page.
Is there anywhere we can have lunch? Is there a café?
We don’t have a café in the museum but there are lots of local cafés near the museum.
Is there a baby change facility on-site?
Yes, there is a baby change facility in the accessible toilet beside the ground floor reception area.
Is there anywhere I can leave my pram/buggy?
The ground floor is fully accessible: prams and buggies can be brought along with you on your visit.
Is the shop open?
The shop is temporarily closed but you can support the work of the Museum and purchase Natural History themed products and books on our online shop.
How can I support the re-development project?
Please leave a donation at the donation boxes in the museum or online at –
Your donation supports our work.
I enjoyed my visit: How do I show my appreciation?
Please leave a review on trip advisor or via our social media platforms. You can also email
You can also leave a donation.
I have a further question which is not covered by the above, who do I contact?
Please send an email to

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Natural History

Natural History,
Merrion Street,
Dublin 2,
D02 F627

+353 1 677 7444