Lapworth Museum of Geology
The museum is located within the Grade II listed, Aston Webb Building, which retains the original Edwardian features. The museum has a history which dates back 1880. Named after Charles Lapworth, an English geologist, the museum houses over 250,000 specimens as well as geological maps, equipment, models, photographic material, and also zoological specimens and stone axes. Also in Lapworth's name is the Lapworth Archive, a detailed and extensive archive of his work housed within the Lapworth museum. The museum materials provide an invaluable teaching aid for the university's geology students.
Many specimens are from the Midlands as well as the rest of the United Kingdom. Among the collections is Wenlock Limestone of the Wenlock Group from Dudley including fossils dating to 420 million years. Solnholfen Limestone from Germany are also on show to the public which includes fish, dragonflies, crabs, lobsters and pterosaurs. Within the fish collections are fish from Brazil, Italy, Lebanon and USA. Samples from the Burgess Shale of British Columbia consist of 510 million year old animals.
Many specimens that are taken from the UK were from old coal mining fields where minerals were accessed. As a result of this collection, there are over 15,000 minerals documented. Minerals from the collection of William Murdoch, an engineer who worked at Soho House with James Watt and Matthew Boulton.
In 2008 the museum was officially designated as possessing collections of outstanding national and international importance by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
In 2009, the entire natural history collection of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery was relocated to the Lapworth Museum with plans underway to drastically increase the amount of exhibition space to allow the collection to be displayed.
In 2012 the Lapworth Museum was awarded a HLF development award of £130,000 to plan for an expansion and modernisation of the facilities.
The popular Lapworth Lecture Series are open to the public every other Monday, at 5pm, during term time. Refer to the Lapworth Museum website for a full list of guest speakers and dates.
The museum is regularly used by schools, colleges and adult education groups as a teaching aid. Talks, hands on sessions and even "behind the scenes" tours can be arranged for visiting groups wishing to learn more about natural history.
The museum runs events at the University's annual community day each year. Visitors can expect to see activities for all the family such as gold panning and volcano building as well as a stall where visitors can bring fossil and rock specimens for identification. Refer to the University of Birmingham website for details of the next community day.
Monday - Friday 9.00 to 17.00
Saturday & Sunday 12.00 to 17.00
Closed on bank holidays
Admission is free
- Lapworth Museum of Geology website
- Birmingham Heritage
- University of Birmingham page
- Birmingham UK.com
- National Archives
- University of Birmingham Community Day
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