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Geology in the round!

The Scarborough Rotunda, designed by William Smith

Scarborough's Rotunda museum reopens

Geoscientist Online 20 May 2008

Scarborough's Grade II listed Rotunda Museum finally reopened this month (on Saturday and Sunday 10, 11 May), and now stands as a celebration of the work of its creator and inspiration, William Smith. Its restoration took two years, and cost £4.4m. The new museum now boasts displays and activities that will appeal especially to children and to their parents as they venture out along the "Dinosaur Coast" of Yorkshire.

The Rotunda Museum first opened in 1829. One of the earliest purpose-built geological museums, the Rotunda presented fossil-ordered stratigraphy, Smith's Big Idea, in a continuous spiral display that architecturally foreshadows Frank Lloyd-Wright's spiral Guggenheim gallery overlooking New York's Central Park.

Now, the redevelopment has returned the Rotunda to its original glory, using specimens from William Smith's own collection, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London.

Major sponsors Shell UK, the exhibition also features one of the museum's first exhibits - Gristhorpe Man. Discovered in 1834 near Scarborough in a large oak coffin, Gristhorpe Man is thought to have lived c500BC, in the early Bronze Age.

Visit the Rotunda Museum website