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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Museum says farewell for a while
Charlotte Minne, 5, and Reuben McLean, 4, examine a hippo jaw
The count down to closure of one of Northern Ireland's most famous landmarks is almost over.

A special farewell event is to be held on Sunday 1 October to mark the start of the Ulster Museum's 30-month closure for major redevelopment.

When the doors open at 1400 BST on Sunday, 2,000 highly collectable and specially-produced souvenir cards will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis.

An activity-packed afternoon, supervised by museum experts, is planned.

It will include a unique chance for visitors to make an Egyptian-style mummy using their own family members and miles of Inversoft tissue paper.

There will also be fossil-casting and a fossil lucky dip as well as animal face-painting for the younger visitors.

Curators will be on hand for "touch and talk" which will give all visitors a last chance to see some of the most popular objects from the fashion, sculpture, zoology, ethnology, and painting collections.

Tim Cooke, chief executive of National Museums Northern Ireland, which runs the Ulster Museum, says the public can look forward to a memorable family event on Sunday.

There will be an activity-packed afternoon
There will be an activity-packed afternoon

"The Ulster Museum is one of the Northern Ireland public's favourite destinations, welcoming 200,000 visitors each year," he said.

"On Sunday afternoon, from 2.00 to 4.30, the public can visit the museum for the last time before it reopens in 2009.

"Once this 12m project is completed, the Ulster Museum will be on a par with other museums on the international stage and the public can look forward to a much more interactive, user-friendly museum.",

The museum, however, will continue its work with schools and communities throughout Northern Ireland during the closure.

"We have designed an extensive outreach programme which will involve our staff taking the work of the museum out and about, working in partnership with other organisations and communities so that the museum can continue to engage with our audiences," Mr Cooke said.

The museum will continue its work with schools
The museum will continue its work with schools

The redevelopment project will include a new entrance and arrivals space, with a dramatic 'Hall of Wonders', the transformation of the museum's history and natural science galleries and a new rooftop gallery.

A cafe and restaurant will be created on the ground floor overlooking Botanic Gardens.

Further details of the outreach exhibitions and events during closure will be available at www.ulstermuseum.org.uk

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