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Lapworth Museum of Geology - a hidden gem!

Last Updated: 4th Feb 2020

By David Carter

The Lapworth Museum of Geology is located within one of the wings of the old listed buildings on the main campus of the University of Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. It’s not exactly the easiest place to find on the huge campus but, despite its lack of prominence, it is a nice sized museum set up on a couple of floors with informative and well laid out displays in several galleries, plus it’s FREE! The museum itself has numerous exhibits that cater for a wide audience range with a decent proportion dedicated to minerals and rocks. If you have any interest in geology, minerals, rocks and fossils then this is a very nice place to visit and while away a few hours. There are also plenty of nearby catering facilities on the university campus to get refreshments and food during your visit. There is plenty of on-site parking within a 10 minute walk of the venue which is chargeable, but at a reasonable price.

Opening times (but do check website before making a journey):
Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon - 5pm
(Closes over the Christmas/New Year period)

Main Entrance

The museum was named after the English geologist Charles Lapworth (1842-1920) who pioneered faunal analysis using index fossils and identified the Ordovician period.

Main mineral display cabinet

Same cabinet viewed from the other end

More displays, minerals and interactive items

Large exhibit displaying different rock varieties

An Allosaurus guards the exhibits!

Historical mineral related items from the Industrial Revolution feature too

In Victorian times, miners in northern England collected beautiful minerals in spar boxes such as this

Ornate Victorian collector’s cabinet containing mostly sliced and polished specimens of Agate and rocks. It belonged to William Bragge (1823-1884) who collected gems and precious stones from all over Europe

The area around Birmingham and the Midlands is well represented and the focus is on English specimens ...

Blue John from Derbyshire

Calcite from Derbyshire

Calcite & Quartz from Shropshire

Calcite, Baryte & Quartz from Warwickshire

Fluorite from Flintshire, Wales

Siderite from Devon

Copper & Cuprite from Cornwall

Pyrite, Quartz & Fluorite from Cornwall

Fluorite & Quartz from County Durham

Fluorite from County Durham

Fluorite & Quartz from County Durham

Calcite from Cumbria

However, there are also numerous different mineral specimens from around the world on display too ...

Almandine Garnets from Austria

Dioptase from Republic of Congo

Okenite, Gyrolite & Calcite from India

Kyanite from India

Almandine Garnet from USA

Psilomelane from Ghana

The Lapworth Museum of Geology reputedly holds the finest and most extensive collections of fossils, minerals and rocks in the Midlands. Dating back to 1880, it is one of the oldest specialist geological museums in the UK. In addition to the permanent displays the museum hosts a number of temporary exhibitions. Themes range from photography, to artistic interpretations of the collection to departmental research.

Well worth a visit if you’re in the Birmingham area, or not too far away!

This article is linked to the following museum: Lapworth Museum of Geology (Birmingham)

Article has been viewed at least 2030 times.
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