National Museum Ireland (Dublin)

Being the news of the week in a near-metropolis like Dublin: just imagine something like that happening to you! It happened to us, when we were mounting a giraffe in the National Museum in public. At the same time our working visit was the beginning of a long-lasting, very pleasant relation with the Irish,a relation that continues to this very day. Nigel T. Monaghan, managing director of the National Museum, tells us:

Giraffe"In 2002 we decided to replace our old giraffe. This specimen was the most damaged of all our stuffed animals and was exemplary for the decay of our museum collections. It was a hunting trophy from Uganda which had been stuffed in 1898 by the-then renowned- company of Rowland Ward of London. We heard that the Company of Bouten & Son in Venlo was one of the few remaining firms in Europe that had the knowledge and the experience to perform this difficult job.
With one of our curators I flew to the Netherlands to look at a giraffe that had been mounted by Bouten for the Dortmund Game Fair. This giraffe was much too big to pass through the doors of our museum, but Leon Bouten had -as would appear later: as usual-a solution. He had an old giraffe skin in the freezer, a skin that had been prepared years before by his father, Jac Bouten. By means of this skin he would be able to mount a “new”giraffe on location. We agreed that Leon and his son, Maurice, would actually start work in our museum. Then Leon showed us some examples from his workshop and from the restoration project for the monumental Mission Museum at Steyl, a part of the town of Venlo. We were impressed. Later on Leon came to Dublin, examined our collections, both exhibited and in store, and could put us in the picture about their state straight away. Subsequently we made a plan to transport our animals to Venlo and have them restored there. When the taxidermists from Venlo came to Dublin and started work at the giraffe in our museum, this proved to be the news of the week in Dublin

MuseumNewspapers filled countless columns with beautiful pictures. For our museum all this attention was perfect publicity. After the giraffe had been mounted, the first specimens were taken along to Venlo. Since then hundreds of animals have been taken to Bouten’s workshop, restored and returned. Each time our staff are gladly surprised by the result, as they are also gladly surprised by visits from “the crazy Dutch guys”.



What is the National Museum?

The National Museum of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin is Ireland’s most important museum. It strongly lays the emphasis on art, material culture and biology. Among other things it contains one of the largest collections of gold objects from the Bronze Age. Furthermore early Christian objects, like crucifixes, chalices, shrines and Saint Patrick’s Bell. More-over the museum pays attention to the Vikings and the Irish Middle Ages. In the branch in Merriot Street early animal life is the centre point.