Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

Museum gallery
baby changing facilities icon Shop icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences is the oldest of the University of Cambridge museums, having been established in 1728 as the Woodwardian Museum. Since then the collection has grown from about 10,000 fossils, minerals and rocks, to at least 2 million. A walk through the museum will take you on a 4.5 billion year journey through time, from the meteoritic building blocks of planets, to the thousands of fossils of animals and plants that illustrate the evolution of life in the oceans, on land and in the air. Also a major teaching and research resource in the Department of Earth Sciences, the Sedgwick Museum collections are a national treasure.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon to Fri 10:00-13:00 & 14:00-17:00
Sat 10.00-16.00

Closed: Christmas & Easter Period. Exact closure dates are listed on our website.

Admission charges

Free admission

The Sedgwick Museum's collections are an important resource for research, learning and enjoyment. The Museum is responsible for the care of approximately 2 million specimens from around the world, encompassing more than 4.5 billion years of Earth's history.

The Museum's collections are organised broadly into five major categories - Palaeontology (fossils), Mineralogy (minerals), Petrology (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks), Building Stones and the 'Woodwardian Collection'. The Sedgwick Museum also houses a collection of Archive material, containing records from the 17th Century to the present day.

Only a small proportion of the collections are on display. The remainder of the collections are held in specialist storage and can be visited by appointment.

Collection details

Natural Sciences

Key artists and exhibits

  • Fossils, dinosaurs, rocks, minerals, local geology
  • Sedgwick's collection
  • Building stones collection
  • Woodwardian collection
  • Darwin collection
  • Harker collection
  • Designated Collection
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.
Wenlock Reef

Exploring the Wenlock Reef

This is an online learning resource based on the Sedgwick Museum's collection of fossils from the 400 million year old Wenlock coral reef. The website includes lots of information about one of the famous fossil collections in the Museum, including a searchable museum catalogue and high quality pictures of many of the fossils. There is also a wealth of information about the creatures and the time and place in which they lived, with a focus on how earth scientists use detective work to collect and interpret evidence to piece these stories together.


  • Sedgwick Museum

How to obtain

Follow the link

Facilitated visits children in the museum

Facilitated Museum Visits

A facilitated visit will last an hour and a half which includes some exploring time, but you are welcome to stay on after the session to keep exploring the collection. We have sessions for Key Stages 1 & 2, and we are also happy to create more bespoke sessions if you have a topic in mind. All sessions include exploring time, a handling session and an interactive talk.


  • Sedgwick museum

How to obtain

Contat the Education Team

These sessions must be pre-booked at least 4 weeks in advance. Facilitated sessions are only available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Handling loan box

Handling loan boxes

Big Box of Rocks and Fabulous Fossils
These sets contain approximately 20 large rock or fossil specimens representing a wide range of ages and species of fossils and rock types and textures. They are all real objects from the Sedgwick Museum collections which have been very kindly loaned by the Museum curators to the education service for handling.

Both rocks and fossils are fantastic for all sorts of activities; sorting, classification, observational drawing, creative writing. Loans sets are supported by basic guidance notes compiled in consultation with our teachers group.

Fossil rubbings
This set of fossil casts (not real fossils but perfect replicas) is for making rubbings using wax crayons. This is an excellent activity for early years and for projects exploring different textures in the natural and made environment.

Dinosaur loan box
A set of 8 casts of teeth, claws and an egg from some of the most well known dinosaurs. Includes some basic fact sheets, great for a hands on session before a trip to the museum.


  • Sedgwick Museum

How to obtain

Contact the Education Team on

All the loan boxes are available on request for up to 3 weeks. They are free of charge, but please note that charges may be made for losses or damage sustained during a loan.

Hot Hot Hot story loan box

Story loan boxes

“Hot Hot Hot” and “Boy”
Two loan boxes for Early Years developed in partnership with Brunswick Nursery School and Homerton Early Years Centre in Cambridge. Creative activities and objects for handling, including mineral specimens and fossil casts based on the books “Oscar and Arabella: Hot, Hot, Hot” by Neal Layton and “Boy” by James Mayhew. The boxes include notes for teachers on EYC links and ideas for creative play and storytelling.


  • Sedgwick Museum

How to obtain

Contact the Education Team on

Both the loan boxes are available on request for up to 3 weeks. They are free of charge, but please note that charges may be made for losses or damage sustained during a loan.

teachers pack information

Teachers Pack

Everything you need to plan a group visit to the Sedgwick Museum


  • Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences.

How to obtain

Click the link to download the PDF.

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
University of Cambridge
Department of Earth Sciences
Downing Street


Web site for the musuem


General email address


General enquiries

01223 333456


01223 333450

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.