From a small echinoid fossil found at 5 years old to a £5 million state of the art museum, the Etches Collection is the story of one man’s journey into the Jurassic age. The Kimmeridge Coast in Dorset, England has a new museum dedicated to a diverse collection of fossils found locally. What makes it special is the exhibits have all been collected by one man.
Steve Etches spent 35 years combing the Dorset coast at Kimmeridge finding fossils that soon filled his home and garage. The strength of the collection is the diverse nature of the species found on the coastline. Some, like the Kimmerosaurus were identified for the first time and named after the area.
Entering the main gallery of the Etches Collection feels like being underwater. The room is bathed in blue light and has computer generated images of dinosaurs swimming overhead. As I walked round the display cabinets shoals of ammonites glided across the ceiling. The museum also has a glass fronted workshop where visitors can watch newly excavated fossils being cleaned up. There is also a child friendly microscope where kids (and big kids) can examine their fossil finds in detail.
This is a really hands on museum. Steve Etches gives regular tours of the displays, outlining the story behind some of the finds. On the day I visited he was inspiring young kids to take an interest in these creatures. As the museum develops there will be guided tours of the coast where some of the bones and fossils are found. The museum is in the tiny village of Kimmeridge in Dorset, England and is set to be a popular attration for locals and visitors.