Mar 8, 2019

The view from my window - Forbes Building update


Sarah Wallace-Johnson, the Museum’s Conservator, updates us on progress with the Forbes Building at West Cambridge.
Category: 2019
Posted by: Sarah

Taking shape outside my office is the Sedgwick Museum’s new facility for storing its rock collections and some of the larger fossils that are currently housed in storage that makes access to them difficult.  Once completed, it will provide high-quality, high-density, climate controlled storage for this internationally important collection.   Bringing several collections together into this purpose-built space will mean that specimens will be much more accessible for research, while the building will provide enhanced facilities for research workers.  We will be able to host public events and show people around our collections in a way that we can’t do at the moment. 

Building started in October, and for the first three months, the project focused almost entirely on laying the foundations and floor: they are complex and built to a high specification due to the weight of the rock collection that they need to support.  During pile-driving for the foundations, we were able to collect fossils from the clay found deep below the building, and look forward to using them in future public engagement projects. 

Now, in March, the steel frame has been erected, bricklaying has started and the roof is going on. Behind the scenes we are planning the move.  More than 350,000 rocks, weighing more 150,000kg will need to be carefully packed and transported across West Cambridge.  They are rocks from all over the world, amassed over the last 200 years. The collection is still growing, added to by many researchers working in the dynamic field of Earth Sciences.   A project like this takes huge amount of planning, and there will be many opportunities for volunteers to get involved in this exciting project – watch this space. 

Temporarily closed due to Covid-19
We are working closely with the University of Cambridge on plans to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so in line with public health guidance, and are working with our partners to revise our programme in light of the current crisis. We will announce our plans and details of reopening in due course.
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May 18, 2020

In this series of blogs our collections move volunteers will tell you all about their experiences of the ‘Moving a Mountain’ project so far. This week they tell us about the different specimens they’ve seen.


Apr 24, 2020

Our first online exhibition ‘Dawn of the Wonderchicken’, is now live!



Apr 20, 2020

The Museum may be closed to visitors, but we are still open online to help you identify your rock and fossil finds remotely.


Sedgwick Museum Collections and Research centre


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Support this project

If you would like to discuss how you might contribute to the Sedgwick Museum Collections Store, please contact Professor Richard Harrison, Head of Department.

To make a donation to the Sedgwick Museum Collections Store please visit our online giving page.

Studying Earth Sciences at Cambridge University

Discover more about studying Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge in this video featuring Museum Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology Professor Marian Holness and Sir David Attenborough