Under the Jurassic Sea

The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life

Located in the village of Kimmeridge, at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Etches Collection houses the remarkable collection of one man – Steve Etches – and provides a unique opportunity to create a destination of regional significance that serves both the local community, visiting tourists and students.

Stepping into the gallery, visitors are immersed in an underwater-world, a laboratory of the senses in which visitors are transported back 150 million years to a time when Kimmeridge was a tropical marine environment of spectacular richness. ​

Incredible CGI films of ancient marine life swim above visitors’ heads on large angled projection screens – designed to give the impression of looking into an aquarium of the past. Directly below the projection screens, showcases house the collection. All stories in the filmic scenes directly reflect the stories of the collection below: the stories of creatures living and dying, fleeing and fighting, in their natural habitats.

Life in the Jurassic sea is varied; sometimes tranquil and at other times violent. A schoal of Belemnotheutis undulate their fins, moving slowly towards the screen. An Icthyosaur startles a group of cephlapods who release a cloud of ink in an attempt to escape. A group of Ammonites fill the screens as they jet around, finding somewhere to lay their eggs.

​In the next scene, a Pliosaur hunts for dinner – darting towards an Icthyosaur and biting into it with powerful jaws and sharp teeth. Falling to its death, the Icthyosaur will land on the seafloor, the scene above directly corresponding with the fossil specimen in the showcase sitting beneath. The bite marks on the real cased specimen will be further highlighted with the use of ‘field notebook’ styled graphics. Screen-based interactives enable visitors to explore the fossils in greater depth: learning how these creatures moved and how they evolved.

Two table-top displays located in the centre of the Gallery house specimens and material for hands-on demonstrations by trained staff. In addition, the tables include showcases, drawers for small objects and self-led tactile exhibits, such as moults, teeth and Ammonites.

The newly opened Museum was named by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 12 Must-See New Museums of 2016.

Project type

Museum

Scope of works

  • Exhibition Design and Creative Direction
  • Graphic Design

Scale

150m2

Location

Kimmeridge, UK

Programme

2013 - 2016

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