Yesterday with David, the Museums Curator of Earth Science collections, I had my first experience in working with some of the Mineralogy collection down in the stores.
It involved working with the Howie Mineral collection. This is a collection that was acquired by the Museum after the passing of Prof. R. A. Howie.
The task was simple enough, but seemed quite time consuming, and it was something that David had been working on for a while. Minerals needed to be moved into their own storage boxes within a larger box, as opposed to being left loose, how they came into the museum (below).
We used acid free tissue paper and boxes to store the mineral specimens in to make them more secure and stop them sliding around too much.
These were then stored, and an accession number from a sequence was placed in each box. The letter ‘N’ that can be seen relates to the collection that the specimen is part of, in this case Minerals (‘M’ is generally used for rocks instead!). The next 5 digits (19336) is the accession lot number. This is the number that the collection as a whole is given when it is brought into the museum. The third number is then the number given to each particular specimen, and is the only one that changes.
After this, the minerals were then placed into a larger box for storage.
As these last few minerals are all unknown at the moment, they will need to be identified, before being entered into the database.