The Lap­worth Mu­seum of Ge­olog y

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CHARMED LIFE -

Birm­ing­ham Founded in 1880 Num­ber of an­nual vis­i­tors: 50,000

Why it should win Home to pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant nat­u­ral-his­tory col­lec­tion in any UK mu­seum aside from the na­tion­als, the Lap­worth has more than 250,000 spec­i­mens of fos­sils, rocks and min­er­als. Af­ter an 18-month clo­sure and a £2.7 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment – nearly dou­bling the mu­seum in size and adding two en­tirely new gal­leries – it re­opened in June last year, and since then visi­tor fig­ures have dou­bled. His­tor­i­cally its au­di­ence had been pri­mar­ily spe­cial­ist and aca­demic, but it is now a key pub­lic mu­seum.

Must-see It holds a col­lec­tion of more than 1,200 min­eral spec­i­mens that be­longed to Wil­liam Murdoch, a bril­liant en­gi­neer who in­vented a steam-driven car­riage and was a pi­o­neer of gas light­ing. The mu­seum also houses his desk and an 1826 in­ven­tory of his col­lec­tion. Quirki­est ex­hibit On dis­play are di­nosaur eggs, skulls, teeth and limb bones, plus the foot­print of an iguan­odon.

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