Geology museums of Britain: Yorkshire Natural History Museum, Sheffield

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

Fig. 1. The museum’s logo.

To no little fanfare, this new museum of natural history (and, in particular, fossils) opened on 13 August 2022. James Hogg, who is Chairman at the Yorkshire Natural History Museum (Fig. 2), only had the idea for it earlier this year.

Fig. 2. The museum from the outside.

James (Fig. 3) true passion for palaeontology came when he was a student. His background is one an economist (in particular, the economic history of institutions and economic growth). However, his idea for the museum is based on his interest in growing a public institution so as many can benefit as possible in the long-run.

Fig. 3. James Hogg, with the skull of a huge ichthyosaur.

After the idea of the museum took shape, James quickly renovated what was a badly dilapidated property (Figs. 4 and 5) to make it happen.

Fig. 4. The inside of the building earlier this year.
Fig. 5. The refurbishments have had to be extensive.

Now finished, the museum’s exhibits include fossils that have been found along the Yorkshire coast from the Jurassic period, from ammonites to belemnites to those huge behemoths, such as ichthyosaurs, that once hunted in the Jurassic oceans. However, not only is the museum a store for natural history specimens, it will also actively research the collection and will provide visiting academics free access to it.

That is, the stated purpose of the museum is to create a dedicated natural history museum in the north of England that operates effectively as a research institution, which can act as a dedicated repository for natural specimens in perpetuity.

In fact, investigation of the geological earth sciences is one of the main reasons for its existence. That is, the museum is intended to be a continuously growing academic institution, and its constitutional and operational framework reflects this aim. It also intends to reduce the cost of access to knowledge with the digitisation of the entire collection, such that the museum will be both a scientific institution and a family attraction (Fig. 6). And there is a possibility of acquiring a second property sometime soon to create a true dedicated hub for natural history in the north of England.

Fig. 6. The museum intends to be family friendly

The digitisation is to be carried out using industrial grade metrology scans, with supporting CT scans on all relevant research specimens, especially those in connection with geology and palaeontology. And all of this will soon be available freely online for global accessibility. This will be cross-subsidised by the sister community interest company – the Universal Palaeontology Repository – and the conservation enterprise, NeoJurassica.

Fig. 7. A model Velociraptor (an original movie prop from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).

Museum personnel will include active researchers, who will soon be publishing academic papers in related fields. In fact, the collection includes a lot of specimens that are new to science, as well as some that are of cultural importance relating to the history of the palaeontology as a discipline.

Fig. 8. The skull of Jurassic marine crocodile, Plagiophthalmosuchus gracilirostrus.

The museum is a small charity run by a Board of Trustees and volunteers. It has a small cafe on site, which is exclusively vegetarian and vegan, to promote a healthy living and reduce its carbon footprint. The Yorkshire Natural History Museum will also be the first museum in Europe to have a public palaeontology laboratory. This means that groups of up to 12 people can come and learn how to prepare fossils for scientific research.

There is an entry charge.

149 Holme Lane
South Yorkshire
S6 4JR
The museum is a five-minute walk from Rivelin Valley Park.
Car Parking
Malin Bridge Park and Ride
Car Park Park and ride is available at Halfway, Middleton, and Meadowhall.
Towsure Car Park (two-minute walk) On-Road Parking for two hours.
Malin Bridge tram stop
Hillsborough Tram stop
Holme Lane/Loxley New Road Stop
81 and 82 calls at the City Centre every 30 minutes.
61 and 62 calls at Stannington and Bradfield every hour.
Geology museums of Britain: Whitby Museum, Yorkshire
Geology museums of Britain: The Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton
Geology museums of Britain: The Museum of London
Geology museums of Britain: The National Stone Centre, Derbyshire
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Geology museums of Britain: Watchet Market House Museum, Somerset
Geology museums of Britain: The Museum of Somerset, Taunton
Geology Museums of Britain: Portland Museum, Dorset
Geology museums of Britain: Yorkshire Natural History Museum, Sheffield
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Geology museums of Britain: Wells & Mendip Museum, Somerset
Geology museums of Britain: Radstock Museum, w2Somerset

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