A geological discovery at Oxford University Museum

I must have been to Oxford University Museum twenty or more times in the past year. Whether for business or pleasure, I'll always find the time to peruse some of the artefacts and more often than not, will notice something new. Have you seen the scale model of the Earth, Moon and Sun? Have you watched the cockroaches crawling and scuttling in their tank? Have you explored the alphabet of artefacts? With so much to see in the display cabinets it's easy to overlook some of the exceptional features of the building itself. I've previously mentioned the Professor of Experimental Philosophy as a favourite 'hidden gem'. But today for the first time ever I realised that every stone pillar in the museum is unique - each made from a different British stone and individually labelled on the plinth with their type and origin, apparently the work of geologist John Phillips. The stones vary greatly in colour from near black slate and granite to vivid greens and reds of ophicalcite and limestone - it's hard to imagine how I'd never noticed them before. That's the kind of museum OUM is - like it's conjoined twin, the Pitt Rivers, it seems designed for discovery.

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