Edmontosaurus returns ahead of 22nd October Opening
Published: 19 August 2009
The 22nd October 2009 has been confirmed as the opening date for the entirely rejuvenated Ulster Museum. The announcement was made as the 6 metre long Edmontosaurus dinosaur skeleton – one of the museum’s most popular exhibits - was installed at the foot of the 3-storey high ‘Window on Our World’ display tower.
The opening date this autumn coincides with the 80th anniversary of the official opening ceremony of the original Ulster Museum in 1929, then known as the Belfast Municipal Museum & Art Gallery (get closer by clicking the images).
Chief Executive of National Museums Northern Ireland, Tim Cooke, said: "At the heart of this project is the desire to connect our fabulous collections and the museum itself to as many visitors as possible from home and abroad. We are delighted to confirm that we will be open to the public again from October 22.
"Our learning programmes will be available for schools and we will be taking a new approach to events, exhibitions, lifelong learning and partnership working to ensure our community engagement is as broad and meaningful as possible. There are three new learning zones around the museum.
"As well as the new galleries and the spectacular Window on our World exhibit we will have a large new restaurant and shop. There will be something for everyone”, said Mr Cooke.
The Edmontosaurus skeleton’s new home will be on the lower level of Window on Our World, a polished steel and glass display tower which will house some of the museum’s best known objects. Using the latest technology, a series of stunning audio-visual shows will be projected onto the walls surrounding the tower.
The Edmontosaurus is the most complete real dinosaur fossil on display on the island of Ireland. One of the last of the dinosaurs, it is believed to be a contemporary of the more famous Triceratops (which can be seen on the top floor of Window on Our World) and the Tyrannosaurus (whose skull will feature in the Ulster Museum’s new Earth and Life galleries).
The dinosaur was a duck-billed herbivore that roamed what is now North America, some 70 million years ago. The skeleton was discovered in the Ruth Mason Quarry, South Dakota, USA, and was purchased for Northern Ireland’s national collections in 1984.
The Edmontosaurus skeleton is one of several thousand objects making their way back to the Ulster Museum ahead of the 22nd October 2009 reopening. The famous Egyptian mummy, Takabuti, returned to the Ulster Museum at the end of June where she will be centrepiece of a new display exploring life and death in ancient Egypt.
Visit the Belfast Telegraph website to view footage of the Edmontosaurus returning to the Ulster Museum.
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Media contact: Kathryn Kirk, JPR, email@example.com or +44 (0) 28 9076 0066
Notes to the editor:
• Dismantled in 2006 by a specialist team, the 6 metre-long skeleton was stored off-site for the duration of the Ulster Museum’s redevelopment. Its current reassembly was completed by the Ulster Museum’s Natural Sciences Conservator, Jill Kerr and specialist conservator, Nigel Larkin. Based in Shropshire, Nigel is particularly experienced in the conservation of fossil vertebrates. He has been engaged by the Ulster Museum to work on both the dinosaur in ‘Window on Our World’ and a giant Irish deer skeleton that will take pride of place in the Ice Age gallery.
• Earlier this year, National Museums Northern Ireland was presented with an award in the ‘Best Care of Collections’ category at the Heritage Council/ Northern Ireland Museums Council awards in Dublin.
• The Ulster Museum project has expanded since its original inception as increased funding has been secured during the refurbishment.