Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

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The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
The Sedgwick Museum - Cambridge - geograph.org.uk - 2407891.jpg
Established 1912
Location Downing Street, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom CB2 3EQ
Coordinates 52°12′11″N 0°07′19″E / 52.20295°N 0.12206°E / 52.20295; 0.12206Coordinates: 52°12′11″N 0°07′19″E / 52.20295°N 0.12206°E / 52.20295; 0.12206
Type Science museum
Collection size 1.5 million specimens
Website http://www.sedgwickmuseum.org/

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, is the geology museum of the University of Cambridge. It is part of the Department of Earth Sciences and is located on the University's Downing Site in Downing Street, central Cambridge, England.

History[edit]

Dr John Woodward collected and catalogued over 35 years nearly 10,000 specimens in five walnut cabinets, two of which he bequeathed to the University in his will.[1] The University later purchased another two, and the fifth was added in the 1840s. The cabinets are still in use today.[1][2] He also left funds to establish the position of the Woodwardian Professor of Geology.[1]

Adam Sedgwick began the process of expanding the collection, and purchased several ichthyosaur skeletons from Mary Anning.[2] He persuaded the University to set aside space in the Cockerill Building, but by the time he died, the collection was too large for that space, so it was decided there should be a museum set up in his memory.[2]

Construction of the Sedgwick Museum was supervised by Thomas McKenny Hughes, an astute negotiator who persuaded the University to build the museum, and raised over £95,000 by a public appeal.[2] The museum was opened on 1 March 1904 in a ceremony attended by King Edward VII.[2]

Collections[edit]

The Sedgwick has a collection of around 1.5 million rocks, minerals and fossils, spanning a period of 3 billion years.[3][4]

The Mineral Gallery holds some of the collection of 40,000 minerals and gemstones, with information about their chemical compositions and uses.[5] The gallery is named after William Whewell.[5]

Darwin the Geologist is a collection of rocks amassed by Charles Darwin on the during his time on HMS Beagle.[6] Geology would feature in Darwin's most famous work, On the Origin of Species.[6]

Ancient Life contains fossils dating back 600 million years, and explores how life emerged in the sea and on land.[7]

Planet Earth shows how the Earth is shaped by various geological processes.[8]

Local Geology is concerned with the geological history of East Anglia.[9]


The museum also has the Geological Conservation Unit, founded in 1991, where most of the collection is held in environmentally controlled rooms, and items are prepared for general display.[3]

Public access[edit]

The Sedgwick is regularly used as a venue for events aimed at outreach and widening interest in Earth Sciences such as the annual Cambridge Science Festival.[10]

The museum logo is based on the Iguanodon skeleton displayed by the entrance. A display board explains that the skeleton is incorrectly mounted in an upright posture rather than a horizontal one but as the upright posture is widely recognised on the logo it was decided to leave the specimen and logo as they are.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Woodward's Legacy". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "History". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Collections". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "The Mineral Gallery". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Darwin the Geologist". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ancient Life". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Planet Earth". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Local Geology". Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences". Cambridge.com. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 

External links[edit]