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Rock Hard

May 18th, 2017

There’s a gem of a museum embedded in Birmingham University and now this fact has been acknowledged nationally. The Lapworth Museum of Geology has just been shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award. Roisin and I went there this afternoon to learn about what all the fuss is about and it turns out the fuss is about a beautifully designed, beautifully laid out museum full of amazing objects.

It’s geology so there are precious stones and rocks that are stunning, there are clever features about earthquakes and volcanoes. The place manages to feel clean, fresh and modern whilst retaining a sense of academia and the tradition of the Victorian collector. It’s a serious museum but there are elements of wit, especially in a playful floor level ‘secret museum’ for youngsters not tall enough to see in the glass boxes. You are welcomed by a dirty great dinosaur skeleton but at the back you can find a fossilized fly in a case next to a fossilized ant.

There was much to learn but my key take-home knowledge today was Mohs’ scale of hardness, which I’m going to test on Broad Street tomorrow night. Basically the rule runs if I can scratch you and you can’t hurt me then I”m harder than you – gettit?

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