The combined collections of Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton museum services together forms one of the largest geological collections in England, with over 30,000 fossil, mineral and rock specimens, the number of geology specimens outnumbers all other single museum collections in the Black Country. At the moment you can’t see all these specimens online but this website does have a good cross section for you to explore.
Dudley Museums service has the largest collection at almost 18,000 specimens, with a strong emphasis on Silurian fossils, particularly those from the Wrens Nest, although the mineralogy and petrology collections are also fairly large. Wolverhampton Arts and Museums service has an excellent sample of Jurassic, Cretaceous and Paleogene fossils, totalling 9052 specimens across the complete stratigraphic range. This collection consists mainly of fossils, with very few rock and mineral specimens. Sandwell Museums service has many Jurassic and Cretaceous specimens within the wider ranging collection, but is also rich in petrological and mineralogical specimens.
Dudley museum’s collection began its life in the 1800’s with early collectors such as Henry Johnson and Sir Roderick Murchison. The collection has since grown with the help of many generous donators, providing rocks, minerals and a significant amount of fossils (many of which are from the UK). This collection has one of the greatest range of local Silurian and Carboniferous Coal Measures fossils in the world. The many fossils represented include trilobites, corals, crinoids and brachiopods along with thousands of other types. A vast array of rocks and minerals has also been obtained, to provide an excellent representation of the UK geology and some overseas sites. The palaeontology, petrology and mineralogy collections are currently being expanded to fill any stratigraphic gaps.
Wolverhampton’s Fraser collection is almost entirely British fossils dominated by the Silurian, Jurassic and Carboniferous periods with a number of Coal Measures plant fossils from the Coseley Lagerstatte. The finest part of the collection is Jurassic, with many ammonites, belemnites, bivalves and brachiopods. Younger Cretaceous aged fossils can be seen preserved in chalk including many echinoids. The Fraser collection is the only Black Country collection with a superb range of recent shells from the past 10,000 years. There are a few rock and mineral specimens in the collection, mainly from the Tildesley bequest, the Bilston Library collections and Tarmac PLC.
Sandwell’s geological collection was donated by G. Robbins in 1906. It has a wide geological coverage and includes some beautiful minerals such as calcite, jasper and agates. Fossils include very well preserved local material from the Silurian and Carboniferous periods plus significant Jurassic and Cretaceous fossils from the UK which includes lobsters, echinoids and a small number of mammals and reptiles.
The collections at Wednesbury and Wolverhampton are both closed (i.e. they are no longer acquiring further objects for accession into these collections).
Dudley is continuing to develop its mineralogy, petrology and palaeontology collections in order to provide a more complete and better representative suite of specimens covering the realm of British geology. The collections have been built up over the last century by generous donations from numerous collectors and cover a significant proportion of the geological timescale from the Precambrian period through to the most recent Holocene epoch.