The Rotunda, a geological gem

Earlier this year, the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough opened after a multimillion pound redeveopelopment.

The Rotunda Museum

The Rotunda Museum

The Rotunda was the brainchild of the ‘father of English geology’ William Smith who produced the first geological map of Britain in 1815. It explained the sequence of rocks on the Yorkshire coast using spectacular fossils. The Rotunda now reflects the spirit of its original purpose. A new entrance takes you to  two new galleries about geology today and access to the coast via the excellent Dinosaur Coast Project. The display of the Speeton Plesiosaur and Gristhorpe Man work particularly well.

The star of the new museum is the circular upper gallery which can now be reached by a glass lift. This gallery tells the story of the collectors and researchers who laid the foundations of geology. The backdrop to these stories is an amazing cross-sections of the geology, which is now accompanied by the fossils from each of the rocks. Unfortunately, I thought the story of the geology was a little lost behind the social history.

The Upper Gallery

The Upper Gallery

It was really nice to see the fossils in their origninal home. One of my first jobs in museums was to curate the geology at Scarborough in preparation of their redisplay.


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