Somerville Collection specimens on the move

Moving house is nothing compared to the logistics and planning that’s gone into moving more than 4,000 minerals and fossil specimens that are part of the Somerville Collection. 

A dedicated team from the Australian Museum have been in Bathurst doing just that, working alongside staff and volunteers from Council’s Museums Unit and TED Fine Art and International Art services. 

Deputy Mayor Cr Ben Fry said the team has moved the specimens, which aren’t part of the public exhibition of the Somerville Collection at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, from onsite storage at the Museum to the Central Tablelands Collections Facility. 

“The move has been weeks in the making. Staff spent seven weeks preparing to move the collection, working out how many boxes and what size would be required to pack up the collection from storage and move it to it its new home at the Collections Facility. 

“A team of more than 20 staff from the Australian Museum and Council staff have ensured that every mineral and fossil is labelled, photographed and the collection database updated. The condition of all items has also been assessed and any necessary conservation work can now be undertaken. 

“The project has allowed all the information relating to the collection to be digitised and staff from both the Australian Museum and Council will have to information relating to the entire collection. The collection is also barcoded, which will make its future use, inventory, and any movements far easier to track.” 

“It is an example of best practice being applied to a collection move with hours of preparation before the items were packed and moved and has provided Council’s museum unit a chance to work alongside colleagues from the Australian Museum.”  

“Council and the Australian Museum have had a long and successful working relationship and this has again been reflected in the project currently underway,” Cr Fry said.  

CAPTION:  Cr Ben Fry with Dr Anja Divljan from the Australian Museum 

About the Somerville Collection: 

The Warren Somerville Collection housed at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, contains some of the finest mineral and fossil specimens in the world. The collection includes high-quality examples of minerals and fine gem mineral crystals from all major chemical groups from all around the world, including gold and zeolites. The Somerville Collection is owned by the Australian Museum and on permanent loan to Bathurst. 

IMAGE AND TEXT: Bathurst Regional Council