School of GeoSciences

Contact details and access to the Museum

We are open to all visitors including students, researchers, schools and the general public by prior arrangement. 

Rock in Cockburn Geological Museum

We are happy to assist with or facilitate outreach activities and tours or talks about geology and Earth History. With advanced notice it may be possible to arrange a bilingual tour – please contact us directly to discuss the availability of languages.

Many attractive specimens from the collections are displayed in presentation cases along the Grant Institute's main corridors. Material may be viewed, and in appropriate circumstances loaned, by arrangement with the Curator.

The majority of the historical collections are held in secured cabinets but are readily accessible by appointment. The research collections, related to postgraduate theses, are stored in several locations and can only be examined by prior arrangement with the Curator.

Arrangements for people with disabilities

There is an access ramp and lift for people with reduced mobility. We can provide guided tours and volunteers on request to act as helpers or aid interpretation of the collection.

Specimen identification

Dr Geoffrey Bromiley and Professor Godfrey Fitton work closely with the collections and are happy to assist with rock identification and examination of fossils and minerals on request.

Research on the collection

Research on our collections is ongoing. We are happy to assist in accessing research space and facilities, although a charge may be levied for analytical work.  We particularly welcome artists who are interested in using specimens and maps as inspiration!


The Museum formerly housed several archives relating to the activity of famous Earth scientists.  Most notably papers belonging to Sir James Hall, Sir Charles Lyell and Professor Archibald Geikie.  In recent years, these archives have been transferred to the University's Centre for Research Collections in the University's Main Library at George Square, to allow more specialist paper conservation and care to be carried out on these precious documents.

Centre for Research Collections


We are regular participants in community events such as the annual City of Edinburgh Doors Open Day. Please check the webpages of The Cockburn Association for listings.

The Cockburn Association

For more information on events, please check our Twitter for the most up-to-date information

Twitter: @CockburnGeol



Opening times:

Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm by prior arrangement.

For additional information about the Museum, or to book a visit, please contact:  

Dr Gillian McCay  Collections Manager/Assistant Curator of the Cockburn Museum


The Cockburn Geological Museum is in the Grant Institute, King's Buildings campus at the University of Edinburgh.

Refreshments are available at King's Building House, immediately behind the Grant Institute, which provides a full range of catering services including coffee, snacks and meals. Toilets are situated on the ground and first floors of the Grant Institute.

Campus maps and travel information