Assembled as part of the activities of the Muséum’s Geology chair (1793-2000), the geology collections document the evolution of earth sciences in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Initially started by B. Faujas de Saint Fond, founder of the Muséum’s Geology department and the first professor of the Geology chair in 1793, the collection was considerably enriched by P.L.A. Cordier, his successor. The collection then grew from 1,500 to over 200,000 specimens of minerals, fossils and sedimentary, metamorphic and magmatic rocks. This diversity reflects the main concerns of geology during that period, based on a comprehensive inventory of the diversity of the soil and subsoil, and the first attempts at classifying this type of material. The successors (G.A. Daubrée and S. Meunier) continued in the same direction, adding the first meteorite specimens to the collection and thus laying the foundations for the Muséum’s current meteorite collection.
Taking up the geology chair in 1920, P. Lemoine, who restructured the collections, definitively established the laboratory’s focus on the study of sedimentary rocks (stratigraphic collections). The meteorite collection, as well as many magmatic and metamorphic rock specimens, which formed the basis for the Muséum’s current endogenous rock collection, were entrusted to the Muséum’s mineralogy laboratory during this major restructuring of the geology collection.
Currently, the geology collection contains over 294,000 rock, mineral and fossil specimens classified by country, with the addition of acquisitions dating from 1962 to the present day, mainly relating to surveys of French stratotypes (Turonian, Lutetian) and stratigraphic or palaeoecological collections (evaporite rocks).
This collection is representative of the history of Geology at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and more generally of contemporary history (collections derived from the first scientific expeditions of the 19th century, collections representative of the geology of the former French colonies), and may be consulted upon request.