The National Museum of Ireland (NMI) has unveiled an extensive range of tours, performances, workshops, lectures, and online events across its four sites over the coming months, catering to a wide variety of ages and interests, all of which are free of charge.
The winter 2022 public programme maximises visitor opportunities to engage with onsite programmes following the last two years, when the focus was very much on online programmes due to COVID-19 public health guidelines. The Museum is looking forward to engaging the public and a wide range of partner organisations in a host of initiatives inspired by its vast and varied collections.
Families looking forward to Hallowe’en and the Midterm break can join Valhalla’ween, a series of drop-in Viking events such as Artefact Detective and Viking Raven Masks at NMI - Archaeology. They can attend ‘frightful friends’ in the NMI – Natural History’s ‘Wonder Cabinet’ or join a free tour with Museum guide Dr Declan Brady as he discusses the chills, ills, and kills in Collins Barracks’ 300-year long history as part of the Bram Stoker Festival. The NMI - Country Life at Turlough Park in Mayo is staging a special Samhain Creepy Crawl - a guided family walk in the woodland and gardens with storytelling, traditional games, illuminations and more.
Expert guides are providing tours in the Museum across all sites throughout the coming months, engaging visitors with interesting insights into the collection covering topics ranging from archaeology to zoology, and national events and international connections between Ireland and the wider world.
As part of a storytelling festival in partnership with Poetry Ireland, one of Ireland’s foremost storytellers, Niall de Búrca, will perform a series of stories he has developed over the past two decades in the courtyard at Turlough Park House in the NMI- Country Life on December 3, in what promises to be a special, atmospheric event. Other events for the weeklong programme include four days of storytelling events for schools with storytellers from across Ireland including Fiona Dowling, Joe Brennan, Nuala Hayes and Pat Ryan.
On November 12 and 13, the NMI is partnering with the Glendalough Heritage Forum, The Heritage Council, Wicklow County Council and UCD School of Archaeology as part of Science Week, and a spectacular LEGO© model made by LEGO © artist Jessica Farrell of Medieval Glendalough will be on display at NMI - Archaeology, alongside several family hands-on activities.
Families looking for hands-on learning can take part in several workshops at the NMI. Leading up to Science Week, the NMI - Country Life will host an onsite workshop on November 12 where guests can learn about climate change through a series of science experiments like launching a hot air balloon and creating infrared waves.
Also, for Science Week, join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on November 19 for a fun drop-in event at NMI - Natural History at the Wonder Cabinet where families can learn about the evolution of these marine animals and tips on how to identify Irish species from looking at their bones. On November 18, discover some examples of parasites from the collections by joining NMI - Natural History Zoology Curator, Dr Amy Geraghty, for her online talk suitable for adults as part of Science Week.
NMI - Archaeology, working with Midlands Science Festival, is heading to the midlands for Science Week with Viking-themed school workshops, family events and an evening lecture about artefacts from Co Offaly by NMI archaeologist Dr Bernard Gilhooly on November 15.
Speaking about the programme of upcoming events, Dr. Audrey Whitty, Deputy Director and Head of Collections and Learning at the NMI said:
This upcoming programme of events has been worth the wait as there is something for everyone and we have a lot of exciting options for the Midterm break and for Christmas in particular. One of our guiding principles at the NMI is to be as inclusive as possible and use our collection and resources to encourage creativity and curiosity. This programme has been developed with that in mind and we look forward to welcoming visitors to all of our sites.”
The NMI has a full list of events during the festive season. At NMI - Country Life on December 17, visitors can join the Armagh Rhymers, one of the most celebrated traditional music and theatre ensembles in Ireland, as they provide musical and dramatic storytelling experiences that are both entertaining and educational. The performance will echo back to the tradition of mummering where a group of actors will, over the 12 days of Christmas, perform an ancient form of theatre in verse with heroic characters from Ireland's past.
At NMI - Archaeology, visitors can participate in the popular Medieval Christmas Open Day on December 11 and learn about what the chilly months of winter were like in the Middle Ages. The site is also planning Spotlight on the Stone Age Solstice Pop-up talks on December 21 that will explain the skills and knowledge used to create magnificent megalithic tombs and artwork and amazing artefacts such as the Knowth Macehead that survive from the Stone Age.
Guests are invited to participate in a range of festive workshops. NMI - Natural History will host a creative workshop looking at ‘Rockin’ Reindeer Fossils’ with ReCreate Ireland, in which families can join in and discover sustainable and planet friendly materials to create ‘rockin’ reindeer fossils’ to adorn their home on December 10th.
NMI - Decorative Arts & History will host a festive workshop during which visitors can make their own traditional and sustainable Christmas decorations on December 3 while there will also be some decoration making workshops at the NMI - Country Life in Co Mayo on December 18.
Here are some of our highlighted Winter at the Museum events:
Important information for your visit
Good news! It is no longer necessary for families & Individuals to pre-book your visit for the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History. However, numbers are still very limited. Visitors to the Museum, especially those with younger explorers, should be prepared to wait in a line outside. Unfortunately, this is an unsheltered area so we recommend that visitors dress appropriately for the weather. We also advise visiting midweek wherever possible as queuing times are significantly longer at weekends.
While staff will do their best to ensure that everyone gets to discover the Dead Zoo, we cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to visit, particularly at weekends, depending on queue size. We hope you will be patient with our staff during your wait in the event that it is not possible to visit the Museum on your chosen day.
Note - Groups intending to visit are still required to book and we invite you to visit during the week as NMI- Natural History are not taking bookings at the weekends.
- Inspectorium: Frightful Friends, 11am - 1pm, 2 November, Drop-in event. No booking required but places are allocated on a first come, first basis. FIND OUT MORE
- Our Furry Friends Tour with Catherine McGuinness, 12.30pm & 2pm, 26 November, Families. No booking required, but places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis 15 mins before the tour is due to begin.FIND OUT MORE
- Science Week Online Talk: Opening a can of worms - parasites in NMI – Natural History, 1.15pm - 1.45pm, Friday 18 November, Adults. Booking Required. FIND OUT MORE
- Science Week Inspectorium with the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group 12pm - 2pm, Saturday 19 November, Drop-in event. No booking required but places are allocated on a first come, first basis. FIND OUT MORE
- Valhalla’ween Drop-in Workshop: Viking Artefact Detective, 2.30pm - 4pm, 2 November FIND OUT MORE
- Valhalla'ween Drop-In Workshop: Viking Raven Masks, 11.30am - 1pm, 3 November FIND OUT MORE
- Science Week: Glendalough LEGO Open Day, 10am - 40.30pm, Saturday 12 November, 1pm - 4.30pm, Sunday 13 November FIND OUT MORE
- Science Week Outreach Lecture: Archaeology Through the Keyhole; Stories Through Science from Co. Offaly, 7pm, Tuesday 15 November. Adults. Booking Required FIND OUT MORE
- Medieval Christmas Open Day, 1pm - 4.30pm, Sunday 11th December
- A world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles’: Life, Disease and Death in Collins Barracks, 1pm & 2pm, Saturday 29 October, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm, Sunday 30 October FIND OUT MORE BOOKED OUT
- Open House Junior 2022: Museum Design Takeover at Collins Barracks, 2pm, 16 October, booking required FIND OUT MORE
- Centenary of hand-over of Collins Barracks Tour, 1pm & 2pm, 17 December, 2pm & 3pm, 18 December
- The Samhain Creepy Crawl, 5.30pm - 9.30om, 29 & 30 October FIND OUT MORE
- What's the Scéal with Niall de Búrca, 7pm, 3 December FIND OUT MORE
- Calendar Customs - The Armagh Rhymers, 10am - 4.30pm, Saturday 17 December FIND OUT MORE
- Crafty Little Christmas, 1pm - 5pm, Sunday 18 December. Check our website soon for further updates.