The Cockburn Geological Museum

Facility/equipment: Facility

    Equipments Details


    The Museum holds an extensive collection of geological specimens that reflect the whole spectrum of Earth science materials including minerals, rocks, meteorites and fossils, as well as historical objects such as maps and photographs.

    Two fish fossils overlapping each other and embedded in rock
    Geological collections contain a wealth of information. Rocks teach us many things about the past, from how the Earth was formed and changed; from the history of plant and animal life, to how life on Earth responded to major climate changes.

    The collections are open to all visitors, including members of the general public by prior arrangement. We are happy to assist with or facilitate outreach activities, tours or talks about geology and Earth History. We can also help with rock identification and examination of fossils and mineral on request.

    The Museum demonstrates Edinburgh's prominent position in geological sciences since the time of James Hutton (1726-1797) and its continuing activity today. For over a century, our collections have been continually added to including major donations of special and rare specimens, which provide extremely valuable reference material for research as well as some beautiful specimens for display.

    Our geology collection has Full Accreditation status with The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries (MLA).

    The museum is open to all visitors including students, researchers, schools and the general public by prior arrangement.

    We are happy to assist with or facilitate outreach activities and tours or talks about geology and Earth History. With advanced notice it may be possible to arrange a bilingual tour – please contact us directly to discuss the availability of languages.

    Many attractive specimens from the collections are displayed in presentation cases along the Grant Institute's main corridors. Material may be viewed, and in appropriate circumstances loaned, by arrangement with the Curator.

    The majority of the historical collections are held in secured cabinets but are readily accessible by appointment. The research collections, related to postgraduate theses, are stored in several locations and can only be examined by prior arrangement with the Curator.

    Arrangements for people with disabilities: There is an access ramp and lift for people with reduced mobility. We can provide guided tours and volunteers on request to act as helpers or aid interpretation of the collection.

    Specimen identification
    Dr Geoffrey Bromiley and Professor Godfrey Fitton work closely with the collections and are happy to assist with rock identification and examination of fossils and minerals on request.

    Research on the collection
    Research on our collections is ongoing. We are happy to assist in accessing research space and facilities, although a charge may be levied for analytical work. We particularly welcome artists who are interested in using specimens and maps as inspiration!

    The Museum formerly housed several archives relating to the activity of famous Earth scientists. Most notably papers belonging to Sir James Hall, Sir Charles Lyell and Professor Archibald Geikie. In recent years, these archives have been transferred to the University's Centre for Research Collections in the University's Main Library at George Square, to allow more specialist paper conservation and care to be carried out on these precious documents.
    Photo associated with equipment - Cockburn_Museum_Fish_Fossil.jpg


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