New job, new city, new palaeontology museum, as the saying goes. Ahem. The only time I’d previously visited Cambridge’s Sedgwick museum was nervously before job interviews, but I remember making a mental note that if I ever found myself here again, I’d go and see it properly. After moving here at the end of February it was therefore right at the top of my to do list, and I quickly ditched the boxes for the first bus heading into the university. It’s a small place, and half of it still clings to the ‘more is more’ mentality of old museums, which means that the cupboards are absolutely stuffed with fossils. One of them was so full of mammoth teeth that opening it would probably require some sort of hard hat, lest one was showered with heavy fossilised dental matter that had been piled up onto the shelves.
My favourite thing about the Sedgwick though is that most of the of the specimens in it are from the UK; they have everything from Iguanodon vertebrae from Sussex, to giant crocodiles from Leeds, to the jawbones of extinct Hyaenodons from Bedfordshire. They also have some amazing itchthyosaur fossils, the best of which for me was ‘Grendelius’, an enormous skull from Norfolk that was so beautifully preserved that it felt like you could reach out and touch the living animal. I think it’s easy to think that because we lack any present day megafauna, the UK has forever been devoid of giants- but the museum is a vivid reminder that this little piece of land has a truly spectacular past. It’s right near the top of my recommendations for anyone visiting Cambridge (alongside an ice cream from Jack’s gelato, and a pistachio hot chocolate from Aromi)- so if you ever find yourself here for an interview (or for any other reason, for that matter)- there are few better places to go.