Oh what irony! After so many days of heavy rain sleet or snow we were greeted by a lovely sunny day for our indoor meeting. But the sun did put us in a good mood. 

The museum has an excellent Geology section which informed, entertained and enlightened nine of us, even those that had visited previously. We started by exploring on our own for forty minutes then coming together to  each tell of an exhibit that meant something. This is an approach I have adopted when visiting museums and art galleries with my Grandson, it is fascinating to see what he sees when on his own.

A 3D model of land and sea 300 million years ago

A 3D model of land and sea in the Late Carboniferous

Several members chose to look again at the panorama of River Delta and Swamp which explains the formation of  rocks in this area 300 million years ago when water drained off high mountains to the north pouring eroded rock fragments into the sea which over time formed large blocks of gritstone.

Alongside this diorama was a 3D model of how the land and sea were distributed at this time, with the current outline of Britain lightly overlaid, a great visual aid.   A variety of questions and discussion ensued.


Carboniferous Fossils

Fossils found in the Carboniferous rocks


We then repeated the exercise for another half hour and met again.

This time fossils, their presence and absence, the enormity of Geological time and huge variety of rocks were considered. Each time the discussion brought out more questions and some answers, everyone being involved.

Model of Calcite

A model showing how the Calcium carbon and oxygen atoms form calcite crystals


Finally a look at the large mineral collection showing not only the minerals themselves but models of their atomic structure. By now we were overawed, stimulated to learn more but exhausted for now so a necessary recourse to the very good cafe to feed our bodies as well as our minds. 


I fully recommend not only an actual visit to this local museum that houses so much more, but a Virtual visit can be made using the above website. 

Josephine Drake