Within the labyrinthine halls of University College Dublin there exists a treasure chest of classical history and archaeology. The UCD Classical Museum (located in room K216 in the Newman Building for the intrepid explorers among you) holds many thousands of artefacts from all over the ancient world, from regions as diverse as Egypt, Greece, Rome and Cyprus.
Highlights include the remarkable stone sarcophagus (complete with resplendent skeleton), a selection of red and black figure Greek vases, a multitude of Roman coins and exquisite glass vessels, ancient Cypriot pottery and the mummy linens of Khnum-Nakht. These mummy linens are of particular significance, as they came from one of the mummies from the renowned Tomb of the Two Brothers, now on display at the Manchester Museum.
The broad spectrum of cultures represented ensures that each visitor will find something to learn from and be inspired by, no matter what their age or interests. The collection is used primarily as a teaching resource for UCD and visiting students, but it is also open to the general public. As a teaching collection, it is extremely valuable for students as they get to don white gloves and physically handle artefacts that are thousands of years old.
This year, the museum has obtained a new curator, Dr. Jo Day, a lecturer in classical history in the university. Jo is working hard on the museum’s education and outreach programmes, in order to attract visitors from outside the university, with a particular emphasis on primary school groups. Although the display style may err on the side of the old-fashioned cabinets of curiosities, the museum has huge potential for change, in terms of new cases, lighting, layout, etc, if funding were to become available. Despite its appearance it holds remarkable artefacts from the ancient world and presents them to all visitors for free. It is well worth a visit.
More information on the museum is available here http://www.ucd.ie/classics/classicalmuseum/ and the opening hours are: during term time on Tuesday (14.00 – 16.00), Wednesday (10.30 -13.00), and Thursday (12.00 – 14.00), or by appointment (+353-1-716 8576).