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National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History facts for kids

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National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History
Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann - Na hEalaíona Maisiúla ⁊ Stair
Facade of the former Collins Barracks with museum signage in the foreground.
Entrance to the museum
Established 18 September 1997 (18 September 1997)
Location Collins Barracks
Benburb Street
Dublin 7, D07 XKV4,
Type National museum
Collection size 150,000 items
Visitors 198,974 (2018)
Public transit access Museum Luas station Luas
Dublin Bus routes: 25, 25a, 66, 67
National Museum of Ireland network
Main entrance to the National Museum of Ireland- Decorative Arts & History- Collins Barracks, Dublin (2019)
Main entrance to the National Museum of Ireland- Decorative Arts and History- Collins Barracks, Dublin

The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History (Irish: Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann - Na hEalaíona Maisiúla ⁊ Stair) is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) located at the former Collins Barracks in the Arbour Hill area of Dublin, Ireland.


The Decorative Arts & History Department of the NMI were formerly called the Art and Industrial Division of the Dublin Museum of Science and Art founded in 1877, alongside the Natural History Division, and the Antiquities Division. By 1889, the Art and Industrial Division has accessioned 10,372 objects and were stored at the museum's main building on Kildare Street. In this early phase of the museum, the industrial collections were given prominence for both display in Kildare Street, and in collections acquisition. Large sections of the ground floor at Kildare Street were given over to displays of antiquities deemed useful for Irish industry.

In 1988, the Irish government made the decision to close Collins Barracks as a military facility, and in 1993 an agreement was reached for the NMI to take possession of the site as a new museum campus. Over the course of 3 years, the Office of Public Works developed and refurbished the site for the museum. The development of this new museum site led to the drafting of the NMI's first strategic plan. The museum opened in 1997, with both exhibition and storage spaces for the collections that were relocated here from Kildare Street and other storage buildings. This resulted in the display of some objects for the first time in decades. A lecture theatre, restaurant, and education rooms were also created. The site also is the location of the museum's conservation lab, and main offices for the documentation department. In the first year of opening, the museums saw 200,000 visitors. The adaptation and development of the museum has led to a number of phased building projects.

In 2018, visitor numbers were reported as 198,974.

Permanent exhibitions

The museum contains displays of furniture, silver, ceramics and glassware, as well as examples of folk life and costume, and money and weapons. The Soldiers & Chiefs exhibition features military artifacts and memorabilia tracing Ireland's military history from 1550 to the present. Other permanent exhibitions include ones on Irish coins and currency, silverware, furniture, the designer Eileen Gray, Asian art, "Curator's Choice" (including a Chinese porcelain vase from about 1300 AD, the Fonthill vase), folklife and costumes, ceramics, and glassware.

Included are artifacts such as Etruscan vases, gauntlets worn by King William at the Battle of the Boyne, a life belt and oar salvaged from the wreck of the RMS Lusitania and a pocket book carried by Wolfe Tone whilst imprisoned in the Barracks.

Special exhibitions are mounted regularly; in summer 2007, for example, replicas of six Irish High Crosses that were subsequently shown internationally.


Preceding station   Luas   Following station
towards Tallaght or Saggart
  Red Line   Smithfield
towards Connolly or The Point
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