Welcome to our museum!

The newly refurbished Zoology and Marine Biology Museum is housed in the Ryan Institute and officially opened its doors in September 2009. Since then, the museum has attracted huge numbers of visitors, ranging from the general public to school parties to visiting researchers and academics. The museum currently has over 500 specimens on display, representing a broad range of animal groups. Native animals as well as more exotic creatures from further afield are well represented.

One of the highlights of the museum collection are four specimens purchased from the Zoological Society of London in 1855. These consist of three mammal specimens: a grison, a cavy and an azara’s fox; and one bird specimen, a guira cuckoo. All four specimens are native to South America  and were collected by Charles Darwin during his trip aboard  the Beagle from 1831-1836.

Another special collection housed in the museum consists of over 100 ’Blaschka models’. The father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka produced beautiful, intricate glass representations of marine animals, originally developed as educational models. They are now considered to be works of art, with a value that makes them irreplaceable.

The Museum collection is used extensively in practical classes for second and third year Zoology students. The material allows the students to examine characteristic features of species and broader taxonomic groupings at first hand. The students’ skills in identifying a variety of specimens are thus enhanced. A form-and-function approach is taken, particularly in the third year, linking in to the comparative ecology and evolution elements of the Zoology course, with students being able to directly compare homologous structures while considering the ecological requirements of the species.

Opening Hours and Contact Details

The museum is open to the public from 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and admission is free.

Enquiries to:  Anne Cryan Tel: 091 492323 or
Eoin MacLoughlin Tel: 091 493640

The location of the museum can be found using the campus map: http://www.nuigalway.ie/campus-map/