Woodwardian Collection

The Sedgwick Museum is founded on the collection of Dr John Woodward (1665-1728) part of which was bequeathed to the University of Cambridge in 1728. The Woodwardian collection comprises almost 10,000 fossils, rocks, minerals, shells, plants and archaeological and ethnographic artefacts.

His collection includes the specimens described by him in his books An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies, Especially Minerals (1695; 2nd ed. 1702; 3rd ed. 1723) and An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Fossils of England (vol.1 1728; vol.2 1729).

Woodward's collection also includes many of the specimens that had belonged to the Renaissance artist and naturalist Agostino Scilla who described and illustrated them in his book on the origin of fossils - La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso (Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense, 1670).

Download an English language eBook of Scilla's book here

Temporarily closed due to Covid-19
The government recently announced that museums and galleries will be able to re-open from 4 July. Here at the Sedgwick, we are really looking forward to welcoming you back, and are working hard to put in place plans to make sure visitors, staff and volunteers will be safe.  We anticipate that we will reopen later in the summer, and will involve a free, timed, ticketing system. We keep you informed of our plans via our website and social media. 
In the meantime, we are delighted that the Cambridge University Botanic Garden has already reopened 
https://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/
More information






On June 19th we are celebrating games and museums with an Animal Crossing live stream! We will join palaeontologist Rob Theodore and game designer Elizabeth Simoens as they explore her island museum.



In this series of blogs our collections move volunteers will tell you all about their experiences of the ‘Moving a Mountain’ project so far. This week they tell us what has surprised them about the project.