Public engagement with geology has always formed part of the remit of the Geological Curators' Group (GCG). Over the last few years this has become a higher priority and the group has participated in more geological outreach events such as fossil festivals. Starting over a decade ago, fossil festivals have become a great success story in public engagement with geological sciences. Two of the largest are held at either end of the Jurassic coast each year; the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival and the Yorkshire Fossil Festival held at Scarborough. Fossil festivals typically combine stalls run by organisations such as museums, universities and societies with activities such as talks and fossil walks. They appeal to a wide audience, especially schools and families.
Two years ago the GCG developed a public outreach event called Be A Curator, using funding from the Curry Fund of the Geologists Association. The activity has since been enjoyed at the Lyme Regis and Yorkshire fossil festivals in 2015 and 2016. We are now offering to loan the activity to other organisations for geological outreach.
The stand helps to explain what curation is and to encourage people to curate their own geological finds. People use the board and magnetic labels to build up a label of a fossil or other geological specimen covering when, where and who discovered it and its age and ID. People can then take a photo with their curated fossil display and perhaps tweet it using a hashtag to build up an online collection for the event. The board is also versatile enough to adapt this activity if you have any ideas.
You only need to cover the cost of collecting the stand from the Natural History Museum in London and later returning it. The stand when in its carry case is 1m tall and 80cm by 45cm across. It fits in most cars, although please check in advance! Email us at