10 Unexpected Treasures & Experiences to Discover at NMI Decorative Arts & History Museum

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Vampire Jet NMI Decorative Arts & HIstory Museum

The NMI Decorative Arts & History Museum is located at Collins Barracks in Dublin and is an interesting space for families to come and spend a day. Here are 10 unexpected treasures & experiences to discover at NMI Decorative Arts & History Museum. 

The National Museum of Ireland hold events for kids and families to enjoy, many of which are free. Check out what’s happening at NMI Decorative Arts & History Museum this month.

10 Unexpected Treasures & Experiences to Discover at NMI Decorative Arts & History Museum

#1. Asgard

Asgard at NMI Decorative Arts & History

Asgard is a 51-foot (16 m) yacht that was owned by the English-born writer and Irish nationalist Erskine Childers and his wife Molly Childers.

It served during the First World War and has an amazing story to tell about the part it played in the Howth gun-running incident of 1904.

Where: Gallery 29 – Asgard

#2. Vampire Jet

Vampire Jet NMI Decorative Arts & HIstory Museum

While wandering around the Soldiers & Chiefs exhibit, look up: the Jet suspended from the roof will surprise you! It is a De Havilland Vampire jet in Irish Air Corps colours.

Here you will also learn much about how Ireland changed from being a country with resources of foot soldiers for the British Army to an independent nation with its own armed forces.

Where: Gallery 22/23 – Defending The Peace, Soldiers & Chiefs

#3. The Stokes Tapestry

Stokes Tapestry Full NMI Decorative Arts & History

Stephen Stokes was a British Soldier stationed in Ireland. He created this tapestry to represent the story of his career.

Can you imagine that he spent 15 years working on it?

Where: Gallery 15 – The British Garrison in Ireland, Soldiers & Chiefs

#4. Astrolabe

Astrolabe national museum of ireland

Long before GPS – or even telescopes were invented, astronomers and explorers used the astrolabe to search the skies and navigate the seas!

You can see an example of this unusual navigation artefact in Gallery 1.

This astrolabe was designed by Jacob Habermal of Prague and is made of copper gilt.

Where: Gallery 1 – Curator’s Choice

#5. Samurai Armour

Samurai costume NMI Decorative Arts & Hostory

Samuari armour was worn in Japan during the 17th and 18th centuries by soldiers and body guards who lived by a strict code – The Way of the Warrior.

The Samurai went  on to become rulers of Japan during the 18th century and were the only people allowed to carry swords. They dressed in a distinctive way and as such were instantly recognisable. The armour on display is a replica of the time Japanese and Chinese art became fashionable throughout Europe.

Can you count the number of parts, which compose the samurai armour? You will find 23 of them!

Where: Gallery 2 – Out of Storage

#6. 17th Century Bedroom

17th century bedroom at NMI Decorative Arts & History Museum

Have a look at the 17th Century Bedroom and compare it with your own! Did you know that beds were the most valuable pieces of furniture in Irish houses during the 17th Century? They were even a symbol of power!

Beds were surrounded by decorative curtains at this time and later, upholstered canopy beds became fashionable, these were known as tasters.

In some noble houses certain servants had their own bedchambers. Others slept in the same room as their masters in a truckle or wheel bed, stored under the main bed. Menial servants slept in the attic. Farmers and merchants had small bedchambers, but in the great houses bedrooms were of a semi-public nature.

Where: Gallery 6 – Four Centuries of Furniture

#7. Thangkas

Thangkas at NMI Decorative Arts & History MuseumThere are 12 Thangkas on display at the museum, they are part of a wider collection of 21 that illustrate the Arhats (disciples) of Buddha, and the four guardians of the four quarters of the world.

Thangkas perform several functions in Tibetan Buddhism. They are used as teach tools, and also act as a central focus during a ritual or ceremony and as a medium through which one can offer prayer and make requests to the divine.

Make a list of all the hidden animals you can see!

Where: Gallery 13a – A Dubliner’s Collection of Asian Art: The Albert Bender Exhibition

#8. Children’s Clothing

children's clothing NMI Decorative Arts & History

Clothes have evolved so much in the past centuries… Go have a look at how your great grandparents were dressed and compare to today’s clothes!

You can also see some toys that are more than a 100 years old!

Where: Gallery 12 —The Way We Wore — 250 years of Irish Clothing & Jewellery

#9. The Barracks Life Room

Barracks life at NMI Decorativa Arts & HistoryHave you ever wondered what life as a soldier in the olden days was like? Where they lived, what weapons they used and what they wore?

To see how a barracks room would have looked like in 1879 and 1943, make your way to the Interactive Barracks Life Room where you can also try on costumes and handle military hardware.

This is the perfect hands on activity for families or groups to enjoy and access is free.

Where: The Barracks Life Room

#10. Clarke Square

Clark Square at NMI Decotrative Arts & History Museum

Finally be sure to visit Clarke Square. This courtyard is the heart of Collins Barracks, and the heart of the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History. It is named after Thomas Clarke, one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 who was also executed that year.

Where: Clarke Square, Central Courtyard

Over to you now. Have you visited any of these treasures or experiences at the Decorative Arts & History Museum? Please let us know in the comments box below.

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