Jurassic Life: Putting Jurassic Coast Fossils where they should be

Expect to see a whole range of amazing Jurassic Coast fossils appear in museums all along the World Heritage Site over the next two years.

Jurassic Fantastic

A new project, Jurassic Life has just received £230,000 form the Heritage Lottery Fund and Dorset and Devon County Councils. The money will be spent on buying, interpreting and displaying the fossils as well as funding a range of innovative learning projects for people of all ages in museums, small and large along the coast.

Jurassic Life was put together by David Tucker, Dorset’s County Museums Adviser working closely with Richard Edmonds, Jurassic Coast Earth Science Manager. “There is a real need to make impressive fossils accessible in the coastal museums” said David. “It has always seemed a shame that there are few places where visitors to the coast can see evidence of the amazing creatures that once lived here” he added.

Jurassic Life is the latest in a series of externally funded projects in museums and heritage centres along the Jurassic Coast. Over the last three years, Swanage Museum has been found a new, improved home, a wide range of events and training have been funded in coastal museums and behind the scenes, collection care has been significantly improved.

This year will see new improved geology exhibitions in several of the museums and many will also be benefiting from a new computer interactive allowing visitors to view the whole coast. Soon these improvements will be hopefully be joined by plesiosaurs, Ichthyosaurs and a wide range of other equally spectacular fossils.

For David this is all rather serendipitous. He failed Geology and Geography A level at school and sees this project is a chance to atone. “My wife has always been amazed that I failed in both subjects – I’m always spotting geomorphologic features on long car journeys. Now I get to work with real earth scientists on a project where my background in modern history is of little use to me”.

Jurassic Life will be a difficult project to deliver with a partnership of museums ranging from Exmouth in the far west to Swanage in the east. It would be difficult enough if all the fossils were to be displayed in one museum gallery, It will be even more of a challenge where the displays on the early Triassic and the late Jurassic are 95 miles apart!

Contact David Tucker, County Museums Advisor.