About the Tricottet Collection

The Tricottet Collection has been established in 2006 by Dr Arnaud Mignan in honor of his grand father, Guy Tricottet (1926-1993) (Fig. 1).

My grand father, naturalist by passion, made me discover the wonders of nature during our weekly wanderings in the surroundings of our small village, located in the North of France. Any graving on a wall, any plant or animal in the village's woods, any strange rock in the fields of Picardie, everything was a new discovery. Guy Tricottet had the gift for telling the story of Earth and thanks to him, I became the man of science I am today.

Dr. Arnaud Mignan

Guy Tricottet

Fig. 1: Guy Tricottet (1926-1993)

Collection's Goal

The main mission of the privately funded Tricottet Collection is the preservation of historic natural history items. By this term, we refer to objects relating to the field of natural history, which are associated with individuals, institutions or events in history.

The purpose of the Tricottet Collection is threefold:
• To PRESERVE and CATALOG historic natural history specimens, especially minerals, fossils, shells and meteorites.
• To PRESERVE and ARCHIVE original documents relating to natural history collecting.
• To RESEARCH and EDUCATE on the subject of natural history collecting through history.

Collection's Timeline

While the Tricottet Collection was established in 2006 and this Online Natural History Museum in January 2010, the collection is actually the result of many years of field work, buys and trades, started in the late 1980s. From that period, only a few specimens still remain in the collection (most being upgraded through time).

The collection consists of three main categories: Mineralogy, Life (Paleontology & Zoology) and Meteoritics. As many other natural history collections, it started from random finds during promenades. Then in the 1990s, the fossil collection grew significantly from a systematic search in two regions of France: Callovian/ Oxfordian limestones from Calvados and Thanetian sands from Somme. Most of the present collection of fossils consists of specimens from these two regions. As for the collection of minerals, it has remained modest through the years, with very few high quality specimens found. However, since 2010, both collections are in a new dynamic phase, with the acquisition of historic fossils, shells and minerals from museums and ancient collections. The collection of meteorites developed from buys and trades only, since the few hunts have until now been unfruitful. The first meteorite specimen, a classic Canyon Diablo iron from Meteor Crater, Arizona, was acquired in 1994. This specimen has been upgraded as many others, and at present, the most ancient meteorite specimen still in collection was acquired in 2007. Since 2010, the meteorite collection focuses exclusively on historic specimens (i.e. from museums or antique collections).

The collection also includes an important Library of Meteorittics and a fast-growing Library of Natural History, as well as archives composed of unique manuscripts & correspondance letters, original photographs, specimen cards and other rare memorabilia related to natural history.

Collection's beginnings (1987-2000)

The origin of the collection can be dated back to 1987, as attests the photograph shown in Figure 2 and the 1989 short story and drawing by Arnaud Mignan (Fig. 3). Here is an English translation of the French text:

My Stone Collection
I have had a collection of stones for the past two years. When I was on holiday in Britanny, I bought about ten stones: Jasper from Rhodesia, Quartz from Madagascar, Obsidian from Mexico. I have stones of all colors, of all forms. I also have a syntethic stone. When I put it into water, it dissolves. I also have polished stones.

To be continued...

The origin of the Tricottet Collection

Fig. 2: 1987 vacation trip to Britanny, the catalyst for a life-long passion for natural history. From left to right: Dominique Tricottet, Guy Tricottet, Jacqueline Tricottet, Chantal Mignan and Arnaud Mignan.

The origin of the Tricottet Collection

Fig. 3: The origin of the Tricottet Collection (1989 short story and drawing by Arnaud Mignan, 9 years old)