FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4 October 2010
Archive Project Underway
A grant of £46,000 from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has
allowed the Sedgwick Museum to undertake much-needed work in its archives.
A project to employ a professional archivist for a year to re-box, arrange and
describe some of the collection has been funded by a grant from the Museums,
Libraries and Archives (MLA) Council Designation Development Fund (DDF).
The records of both the Sedgwick Museum and some of those relating to key
individuals from the Department of Earth Sciences are being stored at the
Museum’s Geological Conservation Unit. The Project Archivist, Sandra Marsh,
will be working until March 2011, continuing the work of Dr Lyall Anderson who
has been box listing the material (over 500 boxes so far!). Future tasks involve
re-packaging the records into conservation grade boxes, and arranging and
describing some of them to enable researchers to locate material safely and
The collections contain records dating from 1680 onwards, and are still growing
today; material related to the ongoing work of the Museum and individuals
associated with it are being continuously acquired.
The notebooks of Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology at
Cambridge from 1818 until his death in 1873, and tutor to Charles Darwin
Maps which have been annotated and hand-drawn in some cases,
including some sent to Adam Sedgwick by John Otley, a topographer and
geologist in the nineteenth century, famous for his maps of the Lakes.
Field notebooks including those of Sir Vivien Fuchs (geologist and
explorer), Alfred Harker (petrologist), and Professor James Marr
Photographs and manuscript catalogues of specimens in the Museum,
which also includes Albert ‘Bertie’ Brighton’s original card indexes.
Albums and minute books relating to the Sedgwick Club, a geological club
formed in 1880 encouraging students to give geological papers, and
attend field excursions. The club is still very active today.
Artwork and photographs of key individuals associated with the Museum
and its history.
The papers of individuals with an association with the Museum and Department
of Earth Sciences have already been assessed. These include those of Stuart
Olof Agrell, Maurice Black, Philip Cambridge, William Deer, Alfred Harker,
William Macfadyen, Thomas McKenny Hughes, Norman Francis Hughes, Peter
Lake, Tressilian Charles Nicholas and many more. These collections often
include correspondence with contemporaries, notes about specimens, teaching
resources and some personal records such as postcards and photographs.
The collections will provide a wonderful resource for those studying the history of
geology in the 20th century, as well as the social history of the period in which
these individuals lived and worked. In some cases they may also provide
invaluable additional information about specimens already in the Museum’s
The aim in the future would be to describe these collections in greater detail at
file level, to enable researchers to locate material of interest more easily.
Specialized software (Mobydoc GAPI) which is compatible with the Museum’s
collection management system has been installed, enabling links between
specimens and relevant documentation in the archives.
Please email the Collections Manager, Dan Pemberton, email@example.com or
Project Archivist, Sandra Marsh, firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and
details of how to access the collection(s).
Please visit the Museum website www.sedgwickmuseum.org for updates and
pictures of the project in progress in due course.
Note to Editors
1. The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences is the oldest established Museum at
the University of Cambridge (having been founded in 1728). Its collections of
over 1.5 million specimens have received the accolades of Designation and
Accreditation because of their national and international importance. Since the
mid 1990s it has been undergoing a period of renovation and refurbishment.
2. The MLA is the government's agency for museums, libraries and archives.
Leading strategically, we promote best practice to inspire innovative, integrated
and sustainable services for all. Visit www.mla.gov.uk
3. The Designation Scheme was launched in 1997 and there are now 131
collections held in 104 organisations throughout England. It identifies and
celebrates the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance
held in England's non-national museums, libraries and archives.
4. The Designated Development Fund distributes money from Renaissance and
MLA's core improvement funds.