Woodwardian Collection

The Sedgwick Museum is founded on the collection of Dr John Woodward (1665-1728) part of which was bequeathed to the University of Cambridge in 1728. The Woodwardian collection comprises almost 10,000 fossils, rocks, minerals, shells, plants and archaeological and ethnographic artefacts.

His collection includes the specimens described by him in his books An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies, Especially Minerals (1695; 2nd ed. 1702; 3rd ed. 1723) and An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Fossils of England (vol.1 1728; vol.2 1729).

Woodward's collection also includes many of the specimens that had belonged to the Renaissance artist and naturalist Agostino Scilla who described and illustrated them in his book on the origin of fossils - La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso (Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense, 1670).

Download an English language eBook of Scilla's book here

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

Saturday
10:00 to 16:00 

Sunday
Closed



Historic fossils from Agostino Scilla’s collection within the Sedgwick Museum’s Woodwardian cabinets are currently on display in the Royal Society’s summer exhibition in London. Called ‘Science made Visible: Drawings, Prints, Objects’, the exhibit explores the questions of how and when science become visual; how drawings, diagrams and charts came to be used alongside words and objects; who made them and what made them scientific?




All the Museum and Department were very sad to hear of the death of former staff member Rod Long. Rod, Uncle Rod as he was affectionately known, was to many people the face of the Museum. Dave Norman, our long time Director, has kindly written his recollections of a man who, put simply, we all loved him for his friendly, helpful and kind nature.
Liz Harper