150th Anniversary of the Natural History Museum

On 25 October, 2007, An Post issued a stamp to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Natural History Museum.

Originally known as the Museum of the Royal Dublin Society, the Natural History Museum was opened in 1857, with a lecture by David Livingstone on his travels in Africa. Since 1877, it has been part of what is now the National Museum of Ireland. Known to generations of Dubliners as 'the Dead Zoo', the museum remains in its Victorian cabinet style, little changed in over a century.

The anniversary of the Natural History Museum coincides with the commencement of a major restoration programme to maintain and enhance the historic character of the building. When the building re-opens to the public, visitors will notice that public access has been improved and new facilities added for educational activities.

The stamp, which was designed by Steve Simpson, with photography by Harry Weir, features the skull and antlers of the giant deer, Megaloceros giganteus, from a specimen given to the Royal Dublin Society by William Wray Maunsell, Archbishop of Limerick, in 1825. The antlers are over three metres across and were shed and re-grown each year. These animals roamed Ireland 11,000 years ago and their remains are found in lake sediments of that age, which underlie many Irish peat bogs.

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