Lapworth Museum of Geology: Art Fund Museum of the Year finalist

Lapworth Museum of Geology: Art Fund Museum of the Year finalist

The Lapworth Museum of Geology
dates back to 1880 and the origins of Mason College of Science, which became the University of Birmingham. If you’d seen this venue previously,
it is totally different.We’re in the Evolution of Life gallery.This is laid out as a geological timeline.We’re moving from the formation of the Earth4.5 billion years ago,through to the present day,
as we walk around this gallery.
It’s amazing that we have so much
geological richness within the local area.
We’ve tried to showcase that incredible
local heritage that we have in the museum.
We managed to reclaim an awful lot of space
from the original building. We introduced this mezzanine, so
we effectively doubled the exhibition space for the whole museum in one fell swoop. This is where you get a really good view
of the five-metre high rock wall. These really are a link
back to the founding of the museum. Some of the old panels
have been removed down here and glass has been incorporated. It’s somewhat subversive, but it means that the younger children,
as they come in, almost have their own exclusive exhibition
that adults aren’t allowed to see.We’ve been able to open it right up,get this historic gallery back
to what it was originally
and, equally, make the collections
much more accessible.
Guys, do you want to have a look
at this object I’ve got? How far do you think it could
open its mouth? We get lots of schoolchildren saying to us that they’ve really enjoyed coming here, that they didn’t know
that working with dinosaurs was a job! It’s the kind of thing that we hope
to inspire children to go into doing.Our audience has changed.
The visitor profile has changed.
We’re seeing people flooding in.I think there’s a real gap in the Midlands
for the kind of thing that we’re doing here. There isn’t a natural history museum
in the Midlands and we’re filling an important gap
for this part of the country.What you see around you
is pretty typical of museum stores,
but we here at the Lapworth have done
something a little bit special.
These are our visible storesthat have been designed
to keep our collections safe and secure,
but still allow the public to get a chance
to view some of our valuable objects.
People feel very privileged
to be able to come into these stores
where we’re doing up-to-date
collections care,
but we’re also able to show them
what we’ve got on display.
It’s a really exciting element
for people to be able to see.
Knowing what it was like before, I feel unbelievably proud,
in terms of what the whole team has done, because it is a team effort.


  • Lynn Hancock says:

    Jon gave members of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society a tour of the newly refurbished museum as well as the stores and archives. It truly deserves to be an Art Fund finalist. They have preserved the integrity of the building whilst increasing the space. The displays are excellent and utilise the original display cabinets as well as new ones. The computerised globe is amazing.

  • Vogue Girl says:

    All the finalists look amazing! Can't we just give them all a prize? Personally it would be great to see a Midlands based museum get the prize instead of giving it to a London based one. Because it would really boost the area. And with Coventry and Stoke on Trent going for the Capital of Culture.

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