Three to see: Lapworth Museum of Geology
Take a look at our Q&A with the Lapworth Museum of Geology to discover more about the venue, and visit Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017 to find out more about the prize, the history, the judges and the rest of this year's finalists.
Marine fossils from the Wenlock Limestone of Dudley
- Beautifully preserved fossils of the creatures that used to inhabit the local area millions of years ago
One of the museum’s most scientifically important and beautiful collections of fossils comes from the 428 million-year-old Wenlock Limestone near Dudley. They record a time when the region was covered by shallow tropical seas – more like the Bahamas than modern day Birmingham. The fossils are of animals that lived on, in, and around, coral and sponge reefs on the sea floor, and include trilobites, sea lilies, moss animals and starfish. Many of the best fossils were collected in the 19th century by Black Country miners and quarrymen, who sold them to wealthy local naturalists. Some of these collections were later donated to, or acquired by, the Lapworth.
The rock wall
- Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic - this stunning array of rocks overlooks the main hall
A unique five-metre-high rock wall, containing 130 rock specimens, makes a stunning and inspiring feature in the main hall of the museum. The fantastic steel structure compliments the building’s girders and links back to the original use of the space as the Hall of Machines of the University of Birmingham’s engineering department. The rock wall is a fantastic tactile learning tool, allowing people to explore the characteristic features of the three main rock types. It is equally a visual feast for all our visitors, displaying the beauty and diversity of rocks that make up our incredible planet.
The fluorescent minerals case
- A dazzling display of minerals reacting to ultraviolet light
Tucked away in an area of the mineral gallery with reduced lighting is the the fluorescent minerals case. People often wonder what they will find in this space, and when they do it is normally accompanied by 'wows' and 'this is amazing'. The case contains what at first sight appear to be very ordinary mineral specimens. Yet, at the press of a button, the display case changes from normal lighting to ultraviolet light. The minerals react to this light and are suddenly brought to life and exhibit the most incredible array of vivid, luminous, fluorescent colours.