The “Beagle” Collection

The 'Beagle' Collection comprises approximately 2000 rocks and a few fossils collected by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) during his voyage around the world on H.M.S. Beagle between 1831-1836. Although Darwin had studied for the clergy at Cambridge, he was friends with Adam Sedgwick and accompanied him on his 1831 field excursion to North Wales. When Darwin embarked upon the voyage of HMS Beagle he considered himself to be a geologist. Darwin's 'Beagle' specimens were given to the Museum after his death and when they arrived at the museum a manuscript catalogue was prepared by petrologist Alfred Harker (1859-1939) into which were copied the entries from Darwin’s notebooks. Later research, especially using thin sections, has also been recorded in the book. Darwin’s identifications have mostly been proven correct; the occasional errors are excusable from the nature of the relevant rocks.



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

10:00 to 16:00 


Winter Closure
The Museum will be closed from Friday 22nd December 2017, re-opening Monday 8th January 2018

Dr Elizabeth Harper has been appointed Acting Director of the Sedgwick Museum following the retirement of Dr Ken McNamara.

Celebrating 100 years since John Edward Marr (1857-1933) became the 9th Woodwardian Professor, Monday 30th October: Visit our online Archive gallery