A Day Out at Cromwell Road
The NHM London recently refurbished the Mineral Gallery, opening “The Vault” – a display designed to showpiece the best terrestrial and meteoritic mineral specimens. I thought I’d go take a look.
The famous entrance hall of the Natural History Museum
The sign on the door to the Mineral Gallery
Just outside the Vault, to either side of the entrance, there are a couple of large cases with the standard explainers of the different kinds of meteorites, their origin, etc.
The entrance to the Vault. It’s designed to look like a movie-style bank vault, with big steel doors on the exterior. Inside the most valuable exhibits are displayed on glass-fronted safes.
Some classy specimens from inside the Vault – see below So much for the display space… what about the meteorites?
Some of the Specimens
A very, very…
…very large (approx 650 kg) specimen of Campo, or Otumpa to use the synonym given here.
An etched slice of Coolac from one of the display cases in the main gallery…
…and a few pieces of Steinbach from the same case. There may be more specimens hidden in the main gallery, but I didn’t find any.
A nice Henbury individual from the display outside the Vault.
Laguna Manantiales etched slice
A lovely fist-sized cut of the Johnstown diogenite
A big individual Stannern eucrite
The Springwater pallasite
This Tenham example is as big as a man’s head!
Etched end-cut of Wabar
Wellman (A) H5 chondrite
The Crown Jewels
These are the most valuable specimens and are kept locked in the Vault itself.
A piece of Cold Bokkeveld. The small test tube contains microscopic interstellar diamonds
Beautiful slice of Vigarano, showing thousands of pristine chondrules and big CAIs
This slice of Imilac is something like 1m x 1m along its longest sides. It’s quite beautiful and is backlit to show the translucency of the olivine crystals
No display would be complete without some planetary exhibits… Here is a huge slice of DaG400 anorthositic lunar breccia. Makes my 0.2g slice look kind of pathetic in comparison!
And here is a piece of Nakhla about the size of a child’s fist. Difficult to photograph as it’s harshly illuminated in its own display safe.