An IUGS Geological Heritage Collection is a geocollection or part of a geocollection of global importance because of its particularly high scientific, historical and/or educational relevance.

Main features and basic requirements

An IUGS Geological Heritage Collection is composed of rocks, minerals, meteorites and/or fossils. It may also include other types of samples like drill cores, oil, loose sediments, volcanic ash, or processed geomaterial such as thin sections, polished sections, grain mounts, mineral separates, and powders. All kinds of collections related to Earth Sciences can be considered, but should preferably stand out by one specific sample type.

An IUGS Geological Heritage Collection must be a group of specimens that has extraordinary scientific, historical and/or educational value.

NOTE. No single criterion, from the broad themes of scientific, historical, and educational, will be required per se, but the more of these that are applicable, the stronger the nomination will become.

Scientific Value and Criteria
The scientific value of geological collections derives from their importance in understanding Earth’s history, composition and the processes that shape it. 

1. Specimens in the collection contributed to a significant scientific advancement. 

2. The collection contains special type specimens of exceptional scientific value.

3. The specimens  are featured in scientific publication(s).

Historical/Cultural Value and Criteria

A geological collection has historical value if it relates directly to an important person, group, discovery, or event.  Cultural value is related to the practices, relationships and meanings that have been given to geological objects.

1. The collection is related to an important (human) historical event, such as an expedition or natural disaster.

2. The collection is related to an important person or group.

3. The collection is related to the history of natural science (e.g., cabinets of curiosities).

Educational Value and Criteria
The educational value of an IUGS Geoheritage Collection derives from the uses that help diverse audiences to better understand the importance and relevance of Earth sciences.

1. All or a portion of the collection is accessible to a wide variety of audiences through exhibition and/or media use. 

2. The collection is available for teaching purposes through loans, tours, and/or other outreach activities. 

3. The data and/or images associated with the collection have a digital presence that is free for anyone to access.

General requirements / standards for an IUGS Geological Heritage Collection

Location and ownership
Collections are typically housed in museums or universities, but may also be privately owned (by corporations, firms or individuals).

The size
An IUGS Geological Heritage Collection has no size requirements, but the number of specimens included must be coherent with the main arguments for its designation.

The collection must be accessible during opening hours and/or by appointment for consultation and study.

The collection must be permanently preserved and its conservation must be ensured.

The collection is unique in a certain scientific, historical or educational aspect.

Photo: Dosges