The "Barrow Kipper" (Atychodracon megacephalus) and the tail of the Rutland Dinosaur

The Geological Curators’ Group deeply regrets the loss of specialist curatorial posts at Leicester City’s New Walk Museum, including that of the Natural Science Curator responsible for the internationally important geological collections held by the Museum. These include key specimens like the Rutland dinosaur, and 565 million year old Precambrian fossils from Charnwood Forest, discovered by a schoolboy in 1957, and which changed our understanding of the early evolution of life.

Whilst we have very implicitly made a statement [available here] on the immense value of collections, in partnership with the Geological Society of London (the oldest professional geological society in the world), to which the Geological Curators’ Group is affiliated, those collections absolutely require professional specialist curatorial expertise to understand their value, care for them and make them accessible to everybody from the general museum visitor to the expert academic researcher.

The redundancies at Leicester of specialist curators are highly detrimental to the future of the collections and the reputation of Leicester Museum. The new posts, bringing additional interpretation skills would have been welcome additions to the staff, but are completely unacceptable as replacements for curators.

Matthew Parkes
Chairperson, Geological Curators' Group
12th March 2019