In 2020, the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History in Dublin, popularly known as The Dead Zoo, closed for renovations. They needed a new roof - which sounds straightforward enough.

But first they had to figure out what to do with the two enormous whale skeletons that have hung from the old roof since the 1890s.

The Dead Zoo, a new film film, narrated by Brendan Gleeson, shows the fascinating process, filled with tension and interest.

Watch it now on the RTÉ Player!

The curators, Nigel Monaghan and Paolo Viscardi, took on this enormous task in the depths of Covid lockdown, and using all their skill, as well as saws, drills and other unlikely tools, over a six-month period, managed to disassemble the two whales.

Here is the RTÉ News report from 2020 where we meet Nigel and Paolo...

Our friends from the Education Department at the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History have shared their Museum at Home video series where we can learn more about the fascinating collections in the Museum.

Did you know Ireland was once home to spotted hyenas? Or that giant deer with enormous antlers roamed our Island in the past?

Watch these videos resources and see the evidence for yourself! In these six videos learn all about extinction and meet some of the important fossils and animals on display at the Museum, including a giant deer, spotted hyena, dodo, thylacine and wolf.

Here we explain what does 'extinct' mean...

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This is the first in a series of explainer videos and you can see the rest HERE!

Visit the Museum's Engage and Learn pages at and discover more free videos, arts & crafts, and activities exploring the unique collections of NMI - Natural History.

The Museum is re-opening

The Museum is re-opened on Tuesday, 2 August at 10am. As only the ground floor of the Museum will be re-opened you will need to book a free ticket for your visit, as capacity is limited.

Please visit to book your ticket.

For any information about group bookings and access for groups please email

For further information about the re-opening please visit the FAQ page on the website. Please be patient as capacity is limited.