Zoological Museum Wins National Award

Posted on: 29 May 2009

The newly refurbished Zoological Museum, located on the first floor of the Zoology Building, beat off competition from 78 competitors to win the Highly Commended Award in the category of ‘Best Collections Care Project’ in the 2009 Museum of the Year Awards on May 18th last.  As part of the School of Natural Sciences in TCD, the Zoological Museum contains a collection of over 20,000 specimens and dates back over 200 years.

A feature of TCD’s Zoological Museum is the many examples of extinct and endangered species including Ireland’s last Great Auk which was declared extinct in 1844, the Tasmanian wolf and the Great Indian Rhinoceros.  All the main animal groups are represented in the collection which also contains a rare set of the famous Blaschka glass models of marine life dating from approximately 1870. 

2009 museum of the year award

Chris Bailey, Director,  Northern Ireland Museums Council, Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council, Dr Martyn Linnie, Curator, Zoological Museum, TCD, Declan McGonagle, Chair of the Judging Panel for the Museum Awards. 

Speaking on the success of TCD’s Zoological Museum Dr Martyn Linnie, Curator, said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the Heritage Council and the Northern Ireland Museums Council. The award is fitting testimony to the generosity of our alumni and friends.  Through their efforts, this valuable collection of considerable scientific and historical importance has been preserved. The award will also enhance the profile of our museum and support its further development as both a college and national resource.”

This year, the Museum Awards were hosted by the Heritage Council, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Museums Council to coincide with International Museums Day.  Professor Declan McGonagle, Chairman of the judging committee said: “The entrants and winners of the 2009 Museum Awards are aware that an economic downturn, even as severe as this, does not have to become a cultural recession. These museums and galleries clearly have the drive and commitment to make a contribution, reach into society and provide real public value. They are the ones engaging communities of interest and enhancing local and national social space. This commitment to public value has to be applauded.” 

An exhibition to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species is currently on display in the Zoological Museum.  Admission to the Zoological Museum is free and interested parties are asked to contact Dr Martyn Linnie on 896-1679 to make an appointment.