Object: Mineralogical reference set
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|Title||Mineralogical reference set|
Gregory, James (manufacturer(s)), circa 1857, London
|Medium summary||wooden box with removable wooden trays holding individual paper boxes with samples and handwritten paper labels|
|Materials||wood, perspex, metal, mineral, paper|
|Classification||specimens, scientific instruments, sets|
|Technique||woodworking, handwriting, printing|
x 515mm (Length)
x 335mm (Width/Depth)
Overall: 157mm (Height) x 443mm (Length) x 267mm (Width/Depth)
Overall: 35mm (Height) x 419mm (Length) x 242mm (Width/Depth)
Overall: 95mm (Height) x 434mm (Length) x 264mm (Width/Depth)
Overall: 36mm (Height) x 415mm (Length) x 244mm (Width/Depth)
Open: 600mm (Height) x 550mm (Width) x 570mm (Depth)
|Credit line||Purchased 2001 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds|
This set of reference rocks and minerals was used by nineteenth-century scientist James Hector to identify geological samples collected during fieldwork.
Hector (1834-1907) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1856, he graduated in medicine from the University of Edinburgh, where he also studied botany, zoology, and geology. For three years he worked as a surgeon and geologist on an expedition of western Canada before arriving in New Zealand in 1862.
During the 1860s, Hector explored the terrain of Otago and the West Coast using this collection of rocks and minerals to identify specimens and gather information about the region's geology. The mineral samples in this set were based on J D Dana's Manual of Mineralogy, a key nineteenth-century geology text.
By 1865, Hector was the director of both the Geological Survey and the Colonial Museum (Te Papa's predecessors). He was never just a desk man, however, and spent his summers working in the field with other scientists.
Hector was immensely influential, responsible for many scientific organisations, including what became the Royal Society of New Zealand. For this work Hector received national and international awards, including a knighthood in 1887.
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