Ulster Museum Opening Date Announced

With return of the Edmontosaurus skeleton comes news of the official opening date

October 22, 2009 has been confirmed as the opening date for the entirely rejuvenated Ulster Museum. The announcement was made as the six metre long Edmontosaurus dinosaur skeleton – one of the museum’s most popular exhibits - was installed at the foot of the new three-storey high Window on Our World display tower.

The opening date 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.

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.

'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 when the museum reopens in October,' comments chief executive of National Museums Northern Ireland, Tim Cooke.

'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.'

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 skeleton is one of several thousand objects making their way back to the Ulster Museum ahead of the October 22 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.