Geology curation masterclass, live Q & A

A few weeks ago I ran a Curating Geology Collections Masterclass for the Social History Curators’ Group.

We had a great day looking at how we organise, identify and use the geology here at The Manchester Museum. The only problem is that it is a lot to try and cover in just one day.

So, in partnership with the SHCG we are running a question and answer session. Please post any questions or comments in the comments box below at any time and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I will be answering any questions live on the 22nd of May 2-3pm.

The handout from the day can be downloaded from the SHCG website.


10 Responses

  1. Hello David! How is it going? Strangely enough I had a geology enquiry two weeks after the seminar… apparently we have a large uncut cairngorm crystal that is rather interesting! Any advice on where to go for researching an insurance value?

  2. Hi Jenny, good question.
    The best thing to do is to check out auction houses who have sold similar things and/or speak to someone who is expert in the field.
    We have had to value our collection several times for insurance. The other method we use is to guess-timate how much it would cost to go and collect the specimen again.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Thanks David – it’s the irreplaceable element which is foxing me (as always) as this crystal was reputedly displayed at the !*%! Great Exhibition… but I am hoping my researcher will prove to be an “expert in the field”!

  4. Hi there,

    As part of the West Midlands Regional Geology Stewardship project, I’ve recently been working with a small borough museum to help with a display of their ichthyosaur material. At the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery we have several reference books on general palaeontology and more detailed literature on carboniferous material, which relates directly to our collection, however, few detailed texts on ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles.

    Firstly I wanted to check what references you’d recommend for research on ichthyosaurs and if you knew where the best place to access them would be.

    I was also wondering if other museums find it difficult to answer enquiries about geology due to a lack of relevant literature. The internet can obviously be a valuable source of information, especially with more and more ebooks becoming available online through Google and projects such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library. However, for some research, access to a range of books is essential in answering enquiries and finding accurate information for displays. What’s the best way for curators to find this kind of information and would non-specialist curators find it useful to have more books or papers on geology more widely available online?

  5. Some of our Geology volunteers last week were keen to test acid test some specimens in our collection. Obviously there will be health & safety implications for the volunteers but with regards to the collections, do you recommend acid texting museum specimens?

  6. Thanks David. That confirms my thoughts on the matter. It will also make it a lot easier as we won’t need to look into volunteers and COSHH etc. Thanks.

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