The removal of two iconic whale skeletons from the ceiling of the Natural History Museum in Merrion Square, to facilitate renovation works later this year, is set to cost €150,000.
The National Museum of Ireland is currently seeking tenders from specialised contractors for the de-installation of a 20m-long fin whale skeleton and a juvenile humpback whale.
The fin whale - the world's second-largest species - was beached in Bantry Bay in 1862, while the humpback whale was found in Enniscrone, Co Sligo, in 1893. The successful contractors will be required to carefully de-install the specimens and prepare them for transportation from the 160-year-old building while renovation works are under way.
It is understood that the removal of the iconic exhibits may be temporary, and the tender documents note that the service provider may be re-engaged to re-install the skeletons at a later date. The de- installation works must be completed by the end of October, subject to the planned rollback of Covid-19 restrictions.
A spokeswoman for the National Museum of Ireland declined to state where the skeletons would be stored for the duration of the renovation works, which will involve the replacement of the building's roof.
"The Natural History Museum is housed in a building constructed in 1856 that has seen little significant work since its construction," she said.
"This project is an exciting first stage in the overall redevelopment and the NMI will be developing opportunities for our visitors and the public to find out more about this important work through our web and social media platforms."
The renovation works are part of a €15m redevelopment of the Natural History Museum, which will include the construction of an extension containing a cafe and additional storage.