Sedgwick Museum of Geology, Cambridge

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Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, is the geology museum of the University of Cambridge. It is part of the Department of Earth Sciences and is located on the University's Downing Site in Downing Street, central Cambridge, England. The Sedgwick Museum is the oldest of the eight museums which make up the University of Cambridge Museums consortium.
Construction and openingDr John Woodward collected and catalogued over 35 years nearly 10,000 specimens in five walnut cabinets, two of which he bequeathed to the University in his will. The University later purchased another two, and the fifth was added in the 1840s. The cabinets are still in use today. He also left funds to establish the position of the Woodwardian Professor of Geology.
Adam Sedgwick began the process of expanding the collection, and purchased several ichthyosaur skeletons from Mary Anning. He persuaded the University to set aside space in the Cockerill Building, but by the time he died, the collection was too large for that space, so it was decided there should be a museum set up in his memory.
Construction of the Sedgwick Museum was supervised by Thomas McKenny Hughes, an astute negotiator who persuaded the University to build the museum, and raised over £95,000 by a public appeal. The museum was opened on 1 March 1904 in a ceremony attended by King Edward VII.
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  • We had an unplanned visit to the Earth museum when visiting the Downing site. The staff was kind and helpful to allow us un-booked visiting after confirming the live visitor situation. My son...  more »
  • I cannot recommend this place more. Please visit as the building is beautiful. The exhibits are fascinating and so informative and the staff are as helpful as you could ask without being...  more »
  • We had a wonderful time browsing through artefacts. They are completely geared for kids: activity stations, discovery packs, good family bathroom facilities and even little steps for them to carry around to make sure they can reach all the displays. My 5 yr old said: "This is my favourite day ever!" when we left after a two hour quiet adventure. It also helped that she could afford her own Gem bag (a little bag filled with a very wide variety of real gems) at the gift shop. Such a carefully considered space!
  • Wonderful museum . Interesting exhibits of fossils, bones and rocks. The where's Wally event was brilliant. Friendly and helpful staff and the kids loved it beyond the event

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