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Object: Mineralogical reference set

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence.

Title Mineralogical reference set
Production 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
Dimensions Overall: 298mm (Height) 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
Registration number GH009877

This set of reference rocks and minerals was used by nineteenth-century scientist James Hector to identify geological samples collected during fieldwork.

James Hector
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.

Southern geology
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.

Important influence
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.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.