The National Museum of Ireland is inviting schools and teachers across Ireland to spring into culture and heritage this February with a new programme of tours, activities and resources for onsite and online engagement.
The museum has just launched a diverse range of events across four public sites in Dublin and Mayo. Activities include virtual tours, guided tours, self-guided visits, workshops, classroom resources, video resources, wordsearches, arts and crafts and more.
The curriculum-linked programme aims to spark curiosity, stimulate discussion and encourage cultural and heritage engagement through our national collections.
All schools visits are free but must be booked in advance as capacity is limited and varies from site to site.
For further information or enquiries about events and resources for our three Dublin museums (Natural History, Archaeology and Decorative Arts & History), please complete the Schools Enquiry Form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information or enquiries about events and resources from our Country Life site in Co Mayo, please contact email@example.com.
Schools are advised to contact the Bookings Office well in advance of an intended visit, particularly for larger groups or if coordinating visits to a number of different sites on one day. The Bookings Office has developed an information sheet for schools to assist in planning a museum visit.
Some programme highlights for spring 2023 include:
NMI - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo
PRIMARY / Engineers Week virtual session: Make a Town
Design, make and keep your own classroom town in this virtual session with Makermeet on Thursday, 9 March. Construct buildings, make roads and paths, cut, colour and create each building and put them into your town layout. Participants may like to decorate with matchbox cars and figurines, and can work from their classroom to expand, make further buildings, and perhaps even a whole city! Booking is required. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Turais stiúraithe i nGaeilge / Guided tours in Irish
Ar fáil ón Mairt 14ú go dé Déardaoin an 16ú Márta ag 14.00 uair. Bíonn uas-teora 20 áit i gceist. Beidh turais i nGaeilge ar fáil i rith na seachtaine do ghrúpaí. Is gá réamh-áirithint a dhéanamh.
Available weekdays from Tuesday to Thursday, 14 to 16 March at 2pm. Places are limited to 20 pupils. Tours in Irish will also be available throughout the week for groups. Pre-booking is essential. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Orienteering workshop
Learn some basic map reading and navigation skills and complete an orienteering course around the grounds of the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life at Turlough Park in Co Mayo. This workshop on 17 May will be supported by staff and students from ATU Mayo and will coincide with World Orienteering Day. Booking is required. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Seasonal nature tour
Join an experienced museum guide to tour the grounds of Turlough Park and find out about nature and biodiversity on this seasonal woodland walk. Learn how to identify different tree species at different times of the year and discover some of the animal and plant species that live in Turlough Park and what we can do to protect them. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Orienteering workshop
Learn some basic map reading and navigation skills and complete an orienteering course around the grounds of the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life at Turlough Park in Co Mayo. This workshop will be supported by staff and students from ATU Mayo and will coincide with World Orienteering Day. Booking is required. FIND OUT MORE
NMI - Archaelogy, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
PRIMARY / Guided Tour: The Vikings in Ireland
Enjoy a free onsite guided tour all about the Vikings in Ireland! This tour is aimed at 3rd to 6th class groups studying the Vikings and is strongly linked to the National Curriculum. The hands-on and interactive tour explores the Vikings in Ireland through the Museum’s collection and replica handling objects. Learn why the Vikings first came to Ireland and discover how archaeology and science have helped us learn more about this amazing period. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Classroom activity: The Vikings
Explore our specially designed activity sheets in the classroom to learn more about the Vikings. Learn about the life of the Vikings; uncover the secret runic writing of the Vikings; and use it to name and decorate a Viking sword. Discover more about some of the gods from Norse (Viking) mythology in our word search, and learn about their special objects including Thor and his magic hammer. Make your own Viking Helmet Mask; find out more about Odin and his ravens; and create your own Viking Raven Mask. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Classroom activity: The Vikings Videos
Learn all about the Vikings and the role of science in Archaeology through these newly created videos by the Education and Outreach Department at the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, in partnership with the Midlands Science Festival. Four videos explore the Museum, archaeology and the use of science in archaeology; the Museum’s collection and the Vikings in Ireland; the Viking expansion and activity in the Midlands in Ireland; and a fourth video with a word game about replica Viking artefacts. These videos were created for 3rd to 6th class primary pupils and are curriculum linked to the SESE History, SESE Geography and SESE Science Curricula. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Guided tour: Leaving Certificate History of Art
Trace the developments of art in Ireland from the Neolithic to the 12th century. Take a closer look at how passage tombs were constructed and decorated in the Stone Age and how some of Ireland’s gold objects were made and used in the Bronze Age right up to the creation and design of Early Christian treasures, including the ‘Tara’ Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice. This tour can be tailored to your groups learning needs and can cover either or both Pre-Christian (c. 4,000 BCE – 500 CE) and Insular Art (c. 500 – 1100s) as laid out in the new Curriculum. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Guided tour: Highlights of the National Museum
Join Museum educators for an onsite guided tour of key objects from the Museum's Collection. This tour for Transition year students explores 10,000 years of Irish history. Find out more about life in Ireland from the Stone Age to the Early Medieval period and see some of Ireland's most iconic treasures at the Museum. Throughout the tour, students will have the opportunity to engage with the Museum’s teaching collection and get to discover even more about these incredible objects. FIND OUT MORE
RESOURCE: Leaving Certificate Art History Presentation
Use our presentation to explore the artefacts on display at the Museum that are part of the Visual Studies section of the Curriculum in: Ireland and its place in the world. This presentation contains high-resolution images of artefacts from the Museum's collection from the Neolithic to Medieval Ireland that are covered as part of both Pre-Christian and Insular Art. Each slide shows an image of an artefact and provides information on name, object type, find location, and date. This presentation can be used as a teaching aid in the classroom and by students as a revision tool.
NMI - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7
PRIMARY / Onsite guided tour: Recovered Voices – Stories and Experiences of the Irish during World War One
Join an experienced Museum guides for this interactive tour that focuses on the people involved in World War One and how the War impacted their lives. This tour seeks to demonstrate the all-encompassing nature of the First World War and includes stories of nurses, doctors, prisoners of war and ordinary soldiers. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Onsite guided tour: From Barracks to Museum – An Introduction to Collins Barracks
This interactive tour focuses on the story of Royal Barracks (now Collins Barracks) and the lives of soldiers who lived here between 1706 until 1993. Learn about their daily activities, living conditions, drilling and marching practices, and experiences going to war. This tour also explores the journey of the site from barracks to museum and will introduce students to some of the most fascinating artefacts in the Museum's collection. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Onsite workshop: If Things Could Talk
This workshop aims to explore the power of objects to tell stories and the role museums can play in interpreting these objects. Working in small groups, students will take on the role of the museum interpreter. Each group will engage with a selection of objects from the Museum's handling collection and will have the opportunity to explore the different meanings that we invest in objects. The workshop promotes student-centred and student-led ways of learning about social history. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Virtual tour: Bonnets, Bandoliers and Ballot Papers This comprehensive new resource is designed for post primary students of History, Politics and Society and CSPE. Examine the changing roles of women in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century through a range of key objects, focusing on political protest and campaigns for societal changes within Ireland. Explore the experiences of women in relation to domestic life, war, rebellion and suffrage during this period. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Onsite guided tour: 1913 - 1923, A Decade of Military Conflict
This tour is designed to engage students and meet key curriculum links. Students are introduced to the experiences of ordinary Irishmen and women involved in World War I, the 1916 Rebellion, the War of Independence and Irish Civil War. Learn how these events affected combatants and civilians alike. FIND OUT MORE
NMI - Natural History, Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Self-guided visits to the NMI - Natural History
Enjoy a self-guided visit to explore the ground floor of the NMI - Natural History this spring. Due to very limited capacity, booking is essential at this site so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with one month’s notice to ensure we can arrange a visit to suit your needs. You can also use one of the museum’s curriculum-linked activity sheets to help you explore. Print off your activity sheets in advance or if you let us know at the time of booking, we can create a pack for your visit.
Browse our activity sheets
Please note: There is no more availability from now until the end of March for facilitated onsite and online school groups at the NMI - Natural History.
PRIMARY / Classroom activity: What Does Extinct Mean?
Explore extinct Irish animals at the museum from the comfort of the classroom! Using a series of short curriculum-linked videos, your class will be introduced to the topic of extinction and meet some of the most special museum specimens, which have one thing in common – they are extinct! Detailed teacher’s notes with suggested lesson plan and accompanying classroom activities are provided and can be used to complement the learning outcomes. FIND OUT MORE
PRIMARY / Classroom activity: Ice Age Ireland – Cool Fossils
Use these curriculum-linked activity sheets and video resource to learn more about Ice Age Ireland. In this museum activity, find out about Ice Age Ireland, learn about fossils and the different kinds of animals that lived on your doorstep thousands of years ago. Watch ‘Cool Fossils and Hot (Climate) Facts! - a fun and interactive primary schools livestreamed event for Earth Day 2021 with NMI - Natural History educators and special guests, the Rediscovery Centre. FIND OUT MORE
POST PRIMARY / Classroom activity: The Irish Coast Climate Change Virtual Visit
Discover the effects of climate change in Ireland using a 3D walkthrough of the museum from the comfort of the classroom. Students can explore the effects of climate change on Irish coastal ecosystems. Detailed teacher’s notes on featured animal species and associated impacts of climate change are provided, with suggested follow-up classroom activities. These may be used to create classroom discussion and expand upon on the topics of climate change effects and the environment in an Irish context. FIND OUT MORE