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Lapworth Museum of Geology reopens after an extensive £2.7 million redevelopment

Last Updated: 12th Jun 2016

By Roy Starkey

Back in July 2014 I posted an article heralding the redevelopment of the Lapworth Museum at the University of Birmingham - You can find it here

Well, after several years of sustained effort, and a lot of hard work by many many people, the Museum finally welcomed its first visitors yesterday (10 June 2016). The end result looks superb - smart modern lines blending with the stylish Edwardian interior, all brought bang up to date by top class display cases, great graphics and a diverse range of excellent displays.

[NOTE - click on the images in turn to see a larger, zoomable version, and on the pop-up grey arrow at the bottom of the screen to see image details and additional notes.]

A smart new entrance doorway

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


leads through to the new lobby area

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


and the reception desk, shop and cafe,

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


from where you get your first glimpse of the new displays

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


A dramatic dinosaur cast greets visitors to the Museum's main hall - the Evolution of Life Gallery

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The new museum has four principal themes and you can see these in the guide map below.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


To the left of the entrance, the story of the Evolution of Life starts with the Precambrian display

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


and follows on in sequence through the various geological periods charting 4500 million years of earth history

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


To the right of the main hall is the Active Earth Gallery which tells the story of Earth processes, such as volcanoes, glaciers, and earthquakes. Interactive displays help visitors to understand geological concepts and theories.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Dramatic lighting and bold graphics engage the visitor

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The state-of-the-art projection globe running a selection of video programmes

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


A nice display featuring the geology of Scottish mountains

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


At the entrance to the Active Earth Gallery can be found the floor to ceiling Rock Wall, which showcases more than 125 different rocks, all on open display, allowing the visitor to get "up close and personal" with a wide range of different rock types.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Just beyond the rock wall is a display about Professor Charles Lapworth (1842-1920), after whom the Museum is named, featuring his desk and some of his scientific equipment.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


To the side of the Active Earth Gallery a stylish staircase leads up to the new Mineral Wealth Gallery, passing an attractive display of prints made from old "lantern slides" held in the Museum's archives.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


At the top of the stairs the visitor is "wowed" by the colourful and beautifully illuminated floor to ceiling "Mineral Wall" display case running down the length of the gallery.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


At the end of the Mineral Wall case are three themed displays, on the Shropshire Lead Mines, the West Cumbrian Iron Mines and British Fluorite Mines, and turning the corner, the reverse side of the Mineral Wall is a display showcasing the physical properties of minerals.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Local associations with the mineral and gemstone industries are presented in a display of specimens from Matthew Boulton's collection and a fine display of cut gemstones and agates, which leads on to a beautifully displayed Victorian collector's cabinet full of sliced and polished decorative stones - the Bragge Cabinet.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


At the end of the Mineral Wealth Gallery is an open balcony from where the visitor can enjoy great views across the Main Hall and the Rock Wall below.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Turning to the left, a corridor running behind the Bragge Cabinet is an interactive display of fluorescent minerals where the visitor can select "daylight" and long wave or short wave ultraviolet light to display the dazzling array of different colours presented by fluorescent minerals. This is sure to be a hit with younger visitors especially.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Returning to the head of the stairs one passes the changing display case and can enjoy a final view along the length of the Mineral Wall.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Back downstairs, and beyond the Active Earth Gallery is the Temporary Exhibition space which will feature regularly changing special exhibits on a variety of themes.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


The inaugural exhibition features artwork by the pupils of King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


Walking back towards the Museum entrance, on the left is the purpose built, state-of-the-art Education Room. This space will be available for bookings by groups such as geological societies and mineral clubs in addition to school groups.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology


We look forward to welcoming you to the Lapworth Museum of Geology! Admission is FREE!

You can find out more details about opening times, directions, access etc. on the Museum website here http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/lapworth-museum/index.aspx

Roy Starkey














Article has been viewed at least 3442 times.

Comments

Roy
Great to see a geological museum updated rather than disbanded.
Lovely pics.
Looks like a very interesting arrangements of educative displays.
Thank you for sharing Roy.
When I am next in the UK I will try and make it there.

Cheers
Keith

Keith Compton
16th Jun 2016 12:01pm

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