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New Earth Sciences Museum for the West Midlands

Last Updated: 22nd Jul 2014

By Roy Starkey

The University of Birmingham’s Lapworth Museum of Geology is celebrating the receipt of a major Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant towards a £2.5 million redevelopment project.

The grant will provide funds for a large scale redevelopment project which will create innovative new exhibitions and allow the display of one of the most outstanding rock, fossil and mineral collections in the UK.

The museum will explore life over the past 3.4 billion years, covering mass extinctions and evolutionary changes. A host of fossils from around the West Midlands will show how the area has changed from a tropical sea to desert to ice sheets over a 450 million-year period.

A grant of £1,564,300 has been awarded by the HLF to the Lapworth Museum which forms part of a larger fundraising project. The £2.5 million cost of the redevelopment is also being funded by University of Birmingham alumni, and a number of grant awarding bodies, trusts and foundations.

The redevelopment process will see the Lapworth transformed into a more engaging public museum with innovative exhibitions structured around four key themes which will examine the evolution of life, active earth processes such as volcanoes, mineral wealth and the impact of minerals on the industrial heritage of the West Midlands.

A completely new mineral gallery will be a major part of the redevelopment, together with a dedicated Temporary Exhibition space where it is planned to host displays by University researchers, individuals and geological societies.

I have been working as a volunteer at the Lapworth Museum since early 2010, and have served as a member of the Redevelopment Project Team for the past couple of years. These are exciting times for the Museum and it will be great to have a mineralogical and geological focal point in the West Midlands to fuel public interest in, and understanding of the earth sciences.

You can read the full press release here
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2014/07/18-jul-14-rock-and-roll-%E2%80%93-lapworth-staff-celebrate-historic-multimillion-pound-redevelopment-grant.aspx

Jon Clatworthy, the Director of the Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham said of the HLF grant: “This is fantastic news; the Heritage Lottery Fund grant will allow us to make the large and nationally important collections of the Lapworth Museum at the University of Birmingham much more accessible to the community. It will provide the public with access to outstanding collections relating to popular and exciting themes such as dinosaurs, fossils, volcanoes, earthquakes, evolution and environment change, and provide visitors with greatly improved facilities.”

Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to support such an exciting project which will help bring the past 3.4 billion years of geology to life in the 21st century.

The picture below shows members of the project team celebrating the good news.



I will post periodic updates as the project progresses and we look forward to welcoming many of you to the NEW museum towards the end of 2015.





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