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Earth Sciences

Our Earth Sciences collection is made up of our Pre-historic Life and Rocks and Minerals collections.

Manchester Museum is transforming and construction work is well underway - our two-storey extension has been built and the stunning South Asia Gallery and Exhibition Hall have been created. Now we are getting to the really exciting bit... the final phase of construction!

Although we are delighted to reach this important milestone, it is with a heavy heart that we have temporarily closed our doors to the public so that this phase of work can take place safely.

The museum is now closed until February 2023, for more information please visit our hello future page

Earth Sciences

Fossils, rocks, minerals and meteorites are essential to help us understand Space, our Planet and the diversity of life on Earth. Manchester Museum has an outstanding collection of approximately 140,000 specimens from all over the world.

Enthusiastic members of the Manchester Geological Society started the collection in 1838.  The original Manchester Museum on Peter Street, included some spectacular geology. Some of the highlights were a large Ichthyosaur (on display in the museum today), a hexagonal basalt pillar from the Giant’s Causeway and models of famous diamonds.

Manchester Museum has a collection of around 100,000 fossils ranging from fossil algae from the dawn of life hundreds of millions of years ago, to ferns, Ice Age animals and dinosaurs. Our Type and Figured collection is available online.

The mineral collection contains a wide range of stunning specimens, which include meteorites, gemstones, ore samples and rare minerals. The rock collection contains a diverse range of objects, which include building stones, volcanic rocks, and coal.

The Museum has one of the most important collections of Ice Age animals in Europe, particularly from Creswell Crags. It has helped transform our understanding of climate change. The fossils from Creswell Crags give a rare glimpse into what was happening at the extreme northerly edge of life in the last Ice Age and a window into the world of the first people to live in Britain.

You can follow David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Science Collections on as @paleomanchester on Twitter and keep up with posts on his Palaeomanchester blog.

Please help us support our collections work and other activities by donating to the Museum on our Support Us page.

Donations large or small can make a big difference. Many thanks.