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.

NHM Entrance Hall

The famous entrance hall of the Natural History Museum

NHM Mineral Gallery door sign

The sign on the door to the Mineral Gallery

Meteorite sign

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.

Vault Entrance

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.

Gems of the Vault

Some classy specimens from inside the Vault – see below So much for the display space… what about the meteorites?

Some of the Specimens

Otumpa/Campo del Cielo

A very, very…

Otumpa/Campo del Cielo

…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 Manatiales

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)

Wellman (A) H5 chondrite

The Crown Jewels

These are the most valuable specimens and are kept locked in the Vault itself.

Cold Bokkeveld

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


DaG 400

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.