This talk was organised by the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland and took place on Crowdcast on 31 March, 2021.
Join Karen van Dorp and Paolo Viscardi as they talk about a whale of an undertaking and discover an unexpected link to the Botanic Gardens… It’s not just greenhouses that have glass roofs – the National Museum of Ireland: Natural History Museum (known as ‘the Dead Zoo’ to its friends) has relied on light from its roof to illuminate the collections for over 160 years. However, snow brought by the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018, pushed the historic structure past its limits and has made roof replacement an urgent issue. Preparing for building works is always difficult, but in the Dead Zoo the challenge is supersized, due to two whale skeletons hanging from the roof, which had to be removed. Join Karen van Dorp and Paolo Viscardi as they talk about this whale of an undertaking and discover an unexpected link to the National Botanic Gardens. Karen van Dorp was part of the Dutch Whale Strandings Team for over a decade, and worked on the dismantling and restoration of numerous large whale skeletons during her years as curator for the Dutch National Museum of Natural History. She now works as an ecologist in the west of Ireland and also enjoys working with (and for) whales and dolphins in their natural environment through the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. She teamed up with Paolo Viscardi last December for the fin whale decant project in Ireland’s Dead Zoo. Paolo Viscardi started his museum career at the National Museum of Ireland in 2005. Since then he has spent a decade working as a natural history curator in London, before returning to the Dead Zoo as a curator in 2016. Since then Paolo has overseen the move of over a million objects from the Museum, the largest and most difficult being the fin whale.