Introduction to curating Geology II

DSCF0119Following my foray into the Geology collection at Manchester, I’ve been entering the location of some of the fossil corals onto the museum collection management system KE EMu – honestly, its not as dull as it sounds.


Labelled Conularia africanus       Prince Albert, S. Africa        Lower Devonian

This fossil is the ice-cream cone shaped shell of an animal whose sea anemone-like tentacles protruded from the wide end. The pointy end attached to a handy hard surface. The shell was made of calcium phosphate as were the pearls which they could produce – apparently not attractive enough for ornamental use sadly.

Its no use having a lovely collection if none of it can be found when needed.  It often falls to volunteers to enter this vital information but going through this process is a good way of finding your way around a collection.  At Manchester, the fossils are organised by taxonomy and after working through a section, you can start to recognise some of their characteristics, particularly when working directly from the objects.


Before entry on KE EMu.


Databased and organised by accession no. – impressive eh?

Before I started there was one entry only for each drawer-full.   I created an individual record for each specimen and linked it to the parent drawer record.

There are about 100,000 fossils and 40,000 rocks and minerals in the stores at Manchester Museum.  After a day’s work we know where a few more drawers-full  of them are and I know a bit more about Cnidaria.

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