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Museum Object of the Month (May 2019)

15 May 2019

KMG1993.65

Cardiola interrupta, Bivalve mollusc fossil, collected by Adam Sedgwick

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On Tuesday 7th May, Kendal Museum hosted a GeoWeek event in partnership with the Westmorland Geological Society. The event highlighted the contemporary geology collection in the Museum, which comprises a unique and superb example of local and global rocks, minerals and fossils. A talk given by Museum Curator Carol Davies explicated the origin of the collections at the Museum. One notable collector, during the years when the Kendal Natural History and Scientific Institute managed the Museum, was Reverend Professor Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873). Sedgwick was both a reverend and a pioneering geologist who proposed the Cambrian and Devonian periods of the geological timescale. Born in Dent, Sedgwick became the Woodwardian professor of Geology at the University of Cambridge and maintained a connection to the Lake District through his companions at the Kendal Natural History and Scientific Institute, including John Ruthven and Thomas Gough. These men played a prominent part in assembling the Museum’s geological collection; which was at that time reputed to be ‘one of the finest and most comprehensive in the country.’ Unfortunately, during the twentieth century the Museum befell hard times. Much of the collection was sold to larger museums in Liverpool, Hull and Wigan, although many items have since been returned on loan.

This month’s object is a bivalve mollusc fossil from the Silurian, known as a Cardiola Interrupta: presented to the Museum by Adam Sedgwick from Helm Gill, Dent. Despite Sedgwick initially playing a prominent part in assembling the geology collection, it is no longer possible to recognise the individual nineteenth century collections compiled with his assistance. In fact, this is the only specimen with a confirmed connection to the Reverend Professor at the Museum, thanks to the label affixed to it. To learn more about Adam Sedgwick’s links to Kendal Museum, or if you want to explore the geology collections, we have relocated the geology rooms to rear of the History and Archaeology Gallery so it is now accessible to all.