The Geological Curators Group are saddened to bring news of the death of one of our longest standing members, Alan Charles Howell, who died suddenly at home on 22nd November 2022.
Alan was born in 1949 and raised in Birmingham, England. He read Geology and Geography at Exeter University before gaining a place on the Museums Studies Course at Leicester University. His career then led him from Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, to Bolton Museum, and finally to Guernsey Museum in 1986, where he was the first full time curator of the Natural History collections. He retired from this position in 2014 but continued to volunteer one day a week, working through more of the collections.
He was heavily involved in the early development of MODES and served on both their Development Committee and Support Teams for many years. He introduced the first computer to the Guernsey Museum in order to assist with documentation, and was heavily involved with their IT systems afterwards.
The Geological Curators Group (which is not just for curators!) is looking for new committee members! We are a friendly group which aims to serve our sector in a number of ways, including events, workshops, a journal, networking, specialist support, and much more.
All roles are up for renewal on an annual basis, but in particular we are looking for some lovely people to join us in the following capacities:
- Communications Coordinator – To oversee our outputs including the blog, newsletter and social media. You won’t be expected to write all of the content yourself!
- Programme Coordinator – To oversee and facilitate (not alone!) our events programme
These roles are less time commitment on average and the person is not expected (though is welcome!) to attend committee meetings
- Associate Editors for the Geological Curator journal
- Production Assistants for the Geological Curator journal
Full descriptions of all roles are on the website. The deadline to nominate yourself is 5th November 2022.
We hope you'll have a think about joining us! Please do get in touch with our Secretary if you'd like to discuss anything:
Dr Emma Nicholls FGS, Incoming GCG Chair
The Yorkshire Natural History Museum is a small museum containing geological, palaeontological, and palaeobotanical material predominantly from Yorkshire, including a significant collection of Lower Jurassic Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast.
A dedicated conference space will be available to educate and inspire school trips and adult groups during the day, and host public lectures and seminars in the evenings.
They also have Europe’s very first publicly accessible fossil preparation and conservation laboratory. Here, up to 12 people at a time can learn how to prepare fossils and use a wide array of equipment provided to prepare their own! Students, researchers, and curators can freely use an additional preparation laboratory with ultrasonic preparation facilities, plus a separate dedicated acid preparation laboratory. 3D scanning, CT scanning, 3D printing, and hologram projection analysis equipment is available on-site for research.
A small café will also be open on site, offering an exclusively vegetarian and vegan menu to promote healthy living and reduce their museum’s carbon footprint, plus a gift shop.
The museum plans to continue growing their collection and ultimately develop a larger, permanent site in the future. Once open, the museum will pursue accreditation to secure the future of the collection and its use in scientific research!
The museum officially opens at 10am on Saturday 13th August, with special guests local palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax and Sheffield MP Gill Furniss attending the opening ceremony that morning. Following this the museum will be open every day 10am - 4pm (Closed Wednesdays). Extended opening hours are available for research.
The last issue of our journal edited by the late Matthew Parkes, this covers two well attended GCG events, "Making the Most of a Move" and "Collectors, Collections and the Geology of South West Britain" - a bumper issue indeed. Under our long standing open access policy, this month we are able to make this edition freely available via our website. It represents the culmination of many hours of hard work on the part of the authors and editor, and is well worth a read. Head over to the journal page now and download yourself a copy.
If you want access to our latest journals, including the popular Ethics and Pyrite Oxidation special issues, now is a good time to join GCG. You can do this online and get instant access via our Membership page.
At the end of November we held our 48th AGM, preceded by a series of short talks detailing work done around the world during lockdowns. It was great to see so many of you there. For those who weren’t able to make it, I thought it would be helpful to do a brief summary of what was discussed.
If you missed any of the talks, then they were recorded and you can access them by first logging into this website, and then visiting the AGM page at https://www.geocurator.org/agm2021
As members should hopefully be aware, we are in the process of converting our charity into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), following a vote at last year’s AGM. Unfortunately, even though our application was submitted in the summer, the Charity Commission have yet to process it due to a backlog of applications during the pandemic, which means that we are somewhat in limbo. While the conversion in its basic form is straightforward, there are several things that will happen as corollaries. We have a new vision and mission, which was actually developed in 2019 (https://www.geocurator.org/about-gcg), and a slightly tweaked committee structure which fits more effectively into our new CIO constitution. As well as this, the instigation of the CIO means that we will need a new bank account, and we have been looking at ways to streamline and develop our finances. The plan was to bring all this together and consolidate it at the 2021 AGM, but unfortunately this wasn’t possible. Therefore, the new posts introduced and filled at the AGM (Vice Chair and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator) must be regarded as co-opted posts under the existing charity constitution (and the same would be the case for the Communications Coordinator, but this post is currently vacant). As soon as we have our new CIO charity number, all the pieces will fall into place and we can proceed full steam ahead. While the delay is unfortunate, it is out of our hands and I hope members will agree that we should not let it hinder our progress unduly, and join me in keeping the bigger picture in mind.