Current Temporary Exhibitions

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.

Tools of the Trade

Opened April 2016
Tools of the TradeA new display showcasing a selection of the Sedgwick Museum’s unique historic collection of geological hammers.
Amongst these iconic ‘tools of the trade’ are hammers belonging to eminent 19th Century British geologists such as
William Buckland and Adam Sedgwick, and more recentfigures, such as Harry Whittington.
The display will feature a 'hammer of the month', which will rotate between historical geological hammers from the collection that are not on display and modern hammers owned by current staff and students in the University's department of Earth Sciences.

Stripping the Earth Bare: William Smith's 1815 Geological Map of England and Wales

Opened August 2015

Accompanying the newly installed permanent display of one of the Museum's copies of the William Smith geological map of Britain from 1815, the exhibition displays a sequence of 15 maps, which show how geological map making has developed over the last 200 years. These maps have been selected from the unique and historic collection of geological maps belonging to the Museum and Department of Earth Sciences in the University of Cambridge. They range from Smith’s remarkable singlehanded attempt to map the distribution of strata across Britain to the kind of hi-tech geological map which students of geology are taught to make today.


‘For Club and Country’: Geologists, The Sedgwick Club and World War 1’

Opened February 2015

In 2014 research was undertaken at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, supported by Arts Council England (ACE), investigating members of the Sedgwick Club who contributed to the war effort. A small exhibition, including specimens and archives opened in February
this year.

The concept was conceived following the donation in 2012 of records from the family of Professor William Bernard Robinson King (1889-1963). During WW1 he supervised and interpreted many of the 400 ‘borings’ which were put down behind the Western Front, which had been investigated for water supply. He was subsequently awarded an OBE for his services. The Archive, which includes notebooks, maps, medals and a photograph album were catalogued and repackaged with the kind assistance of the late Dr Colin Forbes (1922-2014). http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb590-wbrk.

The Sedgwick Club, reported to be the oldest student geological club in the world, ceased its regular meetings with the outbreak of war, indicated in the club minute book. A ‘war-list’ was written in February 1915 and displayed in the Museum; College affiliation and military rank of members were provided. Of the 43 members listed, 7 sadly lost their lives, whilst several others were wounded.

During cataloguing staff uncovered a photo, from a Sedgwick Club excursion to Wales in 1911. It was labelled – WBR King, A.Don, TC Nicholas. It transpired that Archibald Don had been a natural sciences student at Trinity College, although switched to Medicine just before the War.

Don’s biography revealed that he had written to the Woodwardian Professor of Geology, Thomas McKenny Hughes in 1916. He had sent mammoth bones and other items to the Museum that the 10th Battalion Black Watch had found in the trenches in Salonika [Thessaloniki], where he was stationed. The bones were located on display in the museum, as were the original letters and sketches (still in their envelopes!). Sadly Don died of malignant malaria 11th September 1916, aged just 25.

A series of 8 panels have been produced to tell the stories that had been uncovered (including the lives of female Sedgwick club members), and to bring specimens and records together. The exhibition, entitled ‘For Club and Country’ was designed in-house by Rob Theodore (Museums Collections Assistant), and the panels printed externally.

From starting out as a ‘simple’ archive cataloguing/preservation project, and some research into WW1, it became so much more, not least of all providing much needed context to the specimens which had been on display in the gallery since they arrived in 1916. It also highlighted the relevance of archives to specimens of potential scientific interest.

Monday to Friday
10:00 to 13:00 & 14:00 to 17:00

Saturday
10:00 to 16:00 

Sunday
Closed



One of the questions most frequently asked by visitors to the Sedgwick Museum is what exactly are fossils and how do they form? This question also fascinated Agostino Scilla (1629-1700); an artist who lived in the Sicilian town of Messina during the 1600s. Scilla attempted to answer this question in his book La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso (Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense), published in Naples in 1670.



Visitors can now get up close and personal with one of the Sedgwick Museum’s most spectacular objects, our Tyrannosaurus rex skull cast.