The Mineral Collection at the Natural History Museum is one of the largest, most historic and culturally significant in the world, comprising around 200’000 specimens and several thousand gems. Specimens from the UK and Europe dominate, but it is one of very few actively growing, truly global collections, with samples from every continent on our planet. You are invited to join Mike in an overview and appreciation of the important European characters and specimens that built this incredible collection.
We will meander through the ‘curiosity cabinet’ origins of the early 1700’s, the links to European nobility, the significance of the collection to the scientific revolution in chemistry and formulation of geology as a science. We will investigate the impact of mineral collecting as an academic pursuit for the aristocracy and well-heeled during the Victorian era and regale stories about just how far adventurers would go in order to contribute to the collection and scientific knowledge. Finally, Mike will bring you up to date with a little current scientific research, highlighting how mineral collections in museums now are just as important as they have always been.