Thrissops fish fossil

A new museum called the Etches Collection has opened in Kimmeridge, Dorset, showcasing a collection of fossils up to 150 million years old.

The £5-million building is home to fossils collected by Kimmeridge resident Steve Etches, who had previously kept them in his garage. The collection contains more than 2,000 specimens.

Groups visiting the museum can see displays of fossil specimens, video presentations and talks about the process of exposing and cleaning items for display. Fossil handling sessions are also available.

The Etches Collection experience

Visitors will enter an exhibition gallery and begin their museum journey by discovering what life was like underwater 150 million years ago.

The gallery ceiling is made to look like it’s underwater through CGI projections, and show – over different time periods – what it was like in the past for creatures fighting for survival.

The collection of fossils itself is showcased in illuminated cabinets. The fossil specimens support what is being shown above in the underwater world in the CGI projections.

Highlight fossils include Belemnoidea, which are extinct marine creatures similar to modern squid and cuttlefish; Canalipalpata, which are tube worms; Cnidaria, which are corals and jellyfish; and Crustacea, which are lobsters, shrimps and barnacles.

Plans for the future

Groups interested in learning more about fossils should keep an eye out for other new plans related to the museum.

Depending on tides, there will soon be regular opportunities for structured fossil-hunting tours to Kimmeridge Bay, led by Steve Etches.

There will also be illustrated lectures on offer about the treasures of Kimmeridge Bay.

For further information visit

(Photo credit: Terry Keenan – The Etches Collection).