Tree casts disposed of

Yesterday we transferred some casts of tree fossils to Bolton Museum and disposed of some others. As you may have seen from one of my earlier post this has been a long process.

One of the casts on its was to Bolton Museum

One of the casts on its was to Bolton Museum

Over a year ago, I proposed that 15 casts of fossil trees should be disposed of. The casts has never been researched in their hundred year history, they were becoming a dusty health hazard and they took up a large amount of room in the store. The details of the casts were advertised to other museums and Bolton asked to take the casts that had associated information. I’d like to know your views on this issue, please leave a comment.

Yesterday was the last part of the process. Bolton came to pick up their casts and the other casts were broken up and put in a skip. I feel strongly that disposals should be seen in the context of developing the collection, some objects are acquired and others disposed of within strickt guidelines based on collections use. Museums should not feel they have to keep everything forever.

In this context, we have recently acquired some amber specimens which have been used by the public at several events already.


One Response

  1. I guess it’s worth saying, as the person responsible for taking these casts to Bolton, why we decided to take them. As David said, the casts are not in great condition and do take up a lot of space, so why bother?

    In many ways, they are more relevant to Bolton than Manchester. The originals were found along the Bolton-Manchester railway line in the late 1830s. The location today is just inside the Bolton-Salford boundary. So they are very much from our “patch”.

    The original material was figured in a fascinating paper detailing how such large trees could possibly have been fossilised. Since the originals were re-buried, these casts are the only accesible physical record. It’s unlikely we’ll have any research requests, but given the space was available I felt it was worth the effort.

    Also, we don’t currently have any material of this size, and I think the casts are not beyond hope. It’s our aim to eventually constuct the pieces and place them on display.

    This is an important part of how museums need to work. Collections are active, dynamic entities. Material goes out, and all efforts are made to find a more suitable home in the public domain. This allows new collecting and ensures the resource we leave for future generations is as valuable as possible.

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