Despite being built in 2001, the Isle of Wight’s Dinosaur Isle museum claims to be the first purpose-built dinosaur museum in Britain and is shaped like a colossal pterodactyl just to hammer the point home.
Ever since rare dinosaur bones were found in the small village of Yaverland, the area has been caught up in a sort of dinosaur fever. The bones of a previously unknown species of dinosaur, now known as the Neovenator (“the new hunter”) were found in 1978 and it was this pioneering discovery that led to the establishment of Dinosaur Isle.
The original curator of the facility was actually the very man who discovered the Neovenator. This being the case, the newly discovered beast takes center stage at the facility with an animatronic version of the predator and multiple fossils and skeletons. In addition to the recent additions, the museum’s larger collection has actually been being gathered for almost 200 years by the Isle of Wight Philosophical Society covering well over 1,000 fossils and reproductions, Dinosaur Isle is simply the latest building to house the collection. And what a building it is! In case anyone was confused as to what went on within its walls. the museum is shaped like a stylized pterodactyl complete with swooping eves for wings, and a canopy beak hanging over the front door.
Most museums rely heavily on advertising their dinosaur collections in order to drum up attendance —Dinosaur Isle itself is that advertisement.