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The Rotunda Museum, Scarborough

Categories: Specialty Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
3.7/5 based on 190+ reviews on the web
The Rotunda Museum is one of the oldest purpose-built museums still in use in the United Kingdom. The curved grade II* listed building was constructed in 1829 as one of the country's first purpose-built museums. Situated in the English coastal resort of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, it houses one of the foremost collections of Jurassic geology on the Yorkshire Coast.FoundingThe Rotunda Museum, described as the finest surviving purpose-built museum of its age in the country, was built in 1829 to a design suggested by William Smith, 'Father of English Geology'. Smith's pioneering work established that geological strata could be identified and correlated using the fossils they contain. Smith came to Scarborough after his release from debtors' prison. The dramatic Jurassic coastline of Yorkshire offered him an area of geological richness.Sir John Johnstone became Smith’s patron and employed him as his Land Steward at Hackness. Johnstone was President of the Scarborough Philosophical Society which raised the money to build the Rotunda and consulted Smith as to the Museum’s design. Still in his twenties, Sir John was an intellectual leader in Scarborough in the 1820s and a staunch supporter of Smith and his ideas. He donated the Hackness stone of which the Rotunda Museum is built. Smith had seen a rotunda in London and instructed the architect, Richard Sharp of York, to follow that design. The Rotunda Museum was built to Smith’s design suggestion and the original display of fossils illustrated his ideas. The fossils and rocks were arranged in the order in which they occurred, with the youngest in the cases at the top and the oldest at the bottom. The order around the walls reflected the order of rocks on the Yorkshire coast. A section of the rocks on the coast was drawn around the inside of the dome of the building by Smiths nephew, another geologist, John Phillips.The two wings were added to the building in 1860.
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  • Pay once and keep your ticket as it lasts all year , children will love the dinosaurs and staff are very friendly 
  • Allow yourself a couple of hours to do it justice. Friendly knowledgeable staff. Value for money £3 gets you in here and the Museum for a whole year. 
  • Small,but fascinating little place to visit.interesting local history,and information on the dinosaurs.great value for money 
  • great little museum, nice location and a good collection. worth a visit. say hello to Mike
  • Great local museum, especially if you like geology and dinosaurs!
  • A gem of a Museum, lots to see and plenty to learn from and interact with. Children are kept amused and entertained for ages. Fossils, Rocks, Dinosaurs, Birds, preserved Ancient Humans!
  • Good little museum
  • Awful place. Takes 20 minutes to go round. Really boring
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