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Fossil Bivalves

23/07/2009

Fossil bivalves

There are thousands and thousands of these, sitting in rooms full of drawers.
No one has found any use for them in decades. Can you think of something? Or should they stay here because someone might? Just in case.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Bodger permalink
    23/07/2009 10:01 pm

    Don’t destroy them. Give one to each person who visits the museum until there’s only as handful left.

    Ask people to feedback what they do with them.

  2. Tom Stephenson permalink
    23/07/2009 10:21 pm

    What do you mean – ‘No one has found a use for them in decades”? What possible use could you be thinking of? They might have outlived their use around 150,000,000 million years ago on a personal level.

    If I say (in an unguarded moment) to one of my work mates, “What shall I do with this?”, they have a stock answer, and it’s not very polite!

  3. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    24/07/2009 10:39 am

    These fossils are useful in learning about the history of our planet. They can tell us about what lived in the past and how they responded to climate change.

    It is true there has been little research on these 8000 fossils for the last 20 years. I guess the question is why are we spending money looking after them, if no-one has used them for a while?

    I think it is a really important role of museums to hold research collections which can contribute to scientific research, but do we need all 8000 of these fossils for research?

    Many of these are ‘duplicates’ of the same animal from the same time and place. My vote is to rationalise the collection of bivalves and transfer some to another museum where they are more likely to be used. We can then use the space for objects that people want to use in research, displays or education.

    David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Palaeontology, The Manchester Museum.

  4. nino strachey permalink
    24/07/2009 4:58 pm

    It looks to me as if these bi-valves are all carefully labelled as coming from different places at different times. Quite apart from not requiring a “use” other than being themselves (bravo Tom Stephenson for pointing this out) each presumably represents a different excavation at a different location. I agree with the proposal for rationalisation and sharing, if this does not affect the significance or value of the existing groupings.

  5. 24/07/2009 5:45 pm

    Impressions and imprints, layer upon layer, billions of examples of what we once were. And here, in these drawers, a hermit ponders their fate. A compassionate contemplative adoring the remote layers of His evolution with love so radiant that shadows disappear and the light of awareness sparks another flame.

    I will happily create a sanctuary for this collection in my garden and continue to tell their story – after all, I was once a bivalve too. ~v

  6. Guy permalink
    26/07/2009 1:37 am

    Distribute them to schools so that they can start their own museums.

  7. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    22/09/2009 3:07 pm

    The Collections Development Panel, along with the director and the artist, discussed the Fossil Bivalves at a meeting on 3rd September.

    The blog responses and discussion were summarised as:
    “There was not much discussion online for these specimens. It was suggested give one to each schoolchild visiting the Museum. Collection needs rationalization and possibly sharing with others.”

    The decision was that other museums will be contacted to see if the fossil bivalves would be more appropriately housed eslewhere. The aim is to get the collection used. This may be better achieved if they are transferred to another museum where research in a similar field takes place.

    David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Palaeontology

    • 22/09/2009 10:07 pm

      Good idea – I loved fossils when I was a kid – I still do.

      Having fossils around serves the same purpose as the human skull on the desk of the old hermit – it reminds us of our transience, mortality and the tiny space we currently occupy in the great scheme of chronological things.

  8. Cindy permalink
    25/11/2009 4:05 pm

    Surely the purpose of a museum is to care for the nation’s heritage and store such valuable collections for the future. They may take up a little space, but should cost nothing to keep as they are very stable. This is an irreplaceable set of specimens which was the life work of a former Head of the Geology department. Their scientific value is immense, even if they are not being worked on right now!

  9. 08/07/2010 4:31 pm

    These collections are of great interest and a rich source for scientists, if they fulfil some elementary requirements (place and perhaps stratum where the fossil was found, geological period, perhaps species, genus, or family and others). If you really want to get rid of these, please ask any other museum or university in your neighbourhood. If nobody in Great Britain should be interested, there are certainly other institutes in Europe or world-wide which could have interest, for example in families or geological periods. Please, don’t give away single specimens because the whole population is of interest.

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