To complement the permanent displays, the Sedgwick Museum curates temporary exhibitions. These include collaborations with researchers and artists and also reflect relevant news stories, events and anniversaries.
Ediacaran Enigmas: Resolving the fossil record of early animals, Drs Alex Liu, Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill, Emily Mitchell and doctoral student Charlotte Kenchington.
Opened March 2014
This new display is a snapshot of the research taking place in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge on fossils from the 540-580 million year old Ediacaran Period, known as the 'Ediacaran Biota'. These completely soft-bodied organisms were some of the earliest complex multicellular life on Earth and included the first fossils that can be recognised as animals. The display focuses on one group, the frond-shaped Rangeomorphs. These organisms were like nothing else that has ever been discovered and studies in Cambridge are attempting to better understand these 'Ediacaran enigmas'.
Casts of fossils from Newfoundland in Canada are displayed alongside ones from Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire. This is the first time most of these specimens have been on display anywhere in the world. Also on display are 3D mathematical digital models of these organisms, produced using current research, which try and interpret how some of these organisms may have looked in life. The research in Cambridge makes this the most up-to-date and accurate display on Ediacaran fossils in the UK.
The research contributors to this display are Drs Alex Liu, Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill, Emily Mitchell and doctoral student Charlotte Kenchington.
Understanding the Earth - Archival Evidence, Sandra Marsh
Opened April 2012
The Sedgwick Museum Archive holds over 800 boxes of irreplaceable materials relating to the history of geology and the Earth Sciences. Dating back to the 17th Century this material provides a unique insight into the development of this field of scientific investigation and the people involved.
Collect - Catherine Watling
Opened April 2009
What motivates a person to collect, label, organise, store and display objects? What do we collect and why? How are scientific collections different from those of others?
A collaboration between artist Catherine Watling and the Sedgwick Museum, this display explores the secrets that hide within a bank of objects, based on the collections held at the Museum.
Through a series of reminiscence and handling workshops in February 2009, people at the Cherry Tree Age Concern Centre in Cambridge were encouraged to contribute to the installation by bringing in and sharing their own collections.
‘As Old As The Hills’ Fossils of the Llanfawr Quarries - Dr Joe Botting
Opened Autumn 2009
A photographic display of 450 million year old fossils from Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales, capturing a snapshot of an early marine ecosystem.
Llandrindod Wells is a famous Victorian spa town in Wales, but evidence of a lesser known and much older history can be found nearby.
The hills around Llandrindod Wells are formed from 450 million year old mudrocks deposited in a tropical sea during the Ordovician Period. By this time the first truly complex marine ecosystems had developed.
Above the sea floor graptolite colonies floated in their millions and squid-like nautiloids swam in search of prey. Trilobites scuttled among delicate sponges on the muddy sea floor where brachiopods out-competed molluscs for food and living space. The empty chambered shells of dead nautiloids that sank to the sea floor acted as islands of firm ground in the soft mud. These were colonised by encrusting animals including worms.
The remains of these animals were covered in mud, baked by volcanic heat and turned into stone. These fossils were buried deep in the Earth, then much later they were raised to the surface and are now exposed in the Llanfawr Quarries of Llanddrindod.
This series of photographs gives a glimpse of a lost world hundreds of millions of years ago