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

Monday to Friday
10:00 to 13:00 & 14:00 to 17:00

Saturday
10:00 to 16:00 

Sunday
Closed



Fifty years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Dr Stuart Agrell was given VIP treatment and a police escort after flying into Heathrow from the USA because he was carrying a bag full of very precious rock material. The samples were amongst the most expensive ever collected as they had been retrieved from the moon by two of the American Apollo 11 mission astronauts. The programme of their investigation was a remarkable and unprecedented example of international scientific collaboration, which still continues.

Stuart Agrell on the underground with a carpet bag of rocks from the Apollo 11 missionGuess what I’ve got in my bag? 50 years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Stuart Agrell nonchalantly carried some of the most valuable rocks ever collected back to Cambridge in his holdall. (© Mirrorpix, reproduced with permission)




Two of the University of Cambridge’s museums, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Museum of Zoology have been shortlisted for the prestigious Family Friendly Museum Award, it was announced today.