At the far end of the Oak Wing we have restored the room that houses the geological collection of Dr. John Woodward. This was the founding collection of the Sedgwick Museum, and is thought to be the oldest surviving intact collection of its type in the world.
Over more than 35 years Woodward collected and catalogued nearly 10,000 specimens, not just of rocks fossils and minerals, but also shells, plants and archaeological artefacts from all over the world.
Dr. John Woodward
1665 - 1728
Woodward had five walnut cases specially made to house and display his collection. The specimens are still stored in these today, and form the part of the display.
In his Will, Woodward bequeathed his collection and two of the cabinets to the Sedgwick Museum (the University purchased the other two and a fifth was added in the 1840s), and from part of his remaining estate, funds to pay a salary to establish a lectureship in geology.
The Will stipulated that the lecturer should attend daily in the room where [the collections] are reposited from the hour of nine of the clock in the morning until eleven, and again from the hour of two in the afternoon until four three days a week to show the said Fossils, gratis, to all such curious and intelligent persons as shall desire a view of them for their information and instruction.
The tradition of the "Woodwardian" lecturer continues to this day.