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Trinity provost says university planning new model for Science Gallery ahead of closure

Linda Doyle said closing the gallery “affords us time to address the problems and build a new, exciting and sustainable way forward”.

Image: Sam Boal

Updated Jan 28th 2022, 1:25 PM

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN has said that the Science Gallery “needs to be reimagined” in order for it to remain open in the future.

In a newsletter, the Science Gallery said this week marked the last chance for the public to visit. It is set to close its doors when its Bias exhibition finishes at the end of the month.

A protest is taking place in Dublin this afternoon as part of a campaign to save the Science Gallery, which is due to close this week.

The protest, taking place in front of the gallery on Pearse Street, was organised by Students4Change alongside the Trinity College Dublin students’ union and graduate students’ union.

However, Trinity provost Linda Doyle has said that the university will be planning a new operational model for the gallery over the coming months.

In a statement issued to staff and students, she said: “This weekend the doors will close on the final exhibition at Science Gallery Dublin as we currently know it. However, that will not be the end of the gallery story.”

“Looking back, the gallery has been wonderful, but it has had problems in recent years. Unfortunately, in its present form, with its substantial and growing debt, it cannot overcome those problems. The current operational model has run its course,” she said.

The gallery needs to be totally reimagined and work very differently from the way it does now. Closing the gallery affords us the time to address the problems and build a new, exciting and sustainable way forward.  

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said this week that the gallery needs to work on a sustainable financial model in order to secure its future.

Martin told the Dáil on Tuesday that the Department of Further and Higher Education, alongside the Department of Arts, have offered to provide funding for “a number of years to help contribute to a sustainable model”.

“Trinity College Dublin needs to do work to develop what a new vision and a sustainable financial model for the long-term future of the Science Gallery is. The Department of Further and Higher Education is awaiting a submission from them on those issues,” he said.

“There is a separate question around the contractual arrangements with the existing staff of the gallery and that is a matter for Trinity College and their staff.”

Doyle said there had been “excellent engagement with multiple Government departments” over the last few months, who have come together in “a very collaborative manner and pledged support for our future ambitions”. 

She also thanked everyone who has worked in, contributed to and supported Science Gallery Dublin over the years.

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“Over the coming months, working with the Trinity Board and others, we will keep you updated on progress as we move into a new phase of planning,” she said.

The announcement of the gallery’s closure was met with shock and sadness by students, academics, scientists and the public in general. 

A petition set up by a Trinity student to save the gallery has so far gathered over 5,000 signatures.

“Thousands have visited the Science Gallery over the years, to learn more about the world we live in, to make treasured memories with family and friends, to see the amazing amount of effort that goes into every part of every exhibition and installation,” the petition reads.

It says to close the Science Gallery is to close “another valuable part of Dublin’s culture”.

“Trinity College Dublin, we demand a solution. Don’t let down your students, your visitors, your staff, and your city.”

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Jane Moore

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