Museum Philosophy


Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is a traditional museum which is owned and run by Steve and Jenny Davies.

The museum is run to a philosophy with a very specific set of values covering how it is funded, how the collection is accumulated, and how it is displayed.



Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is a private and independent museum. We are funded exclusively by the entrance fee paid by visitors to the museum. We do not seek, nor would we accept any public funding. We do not try and improve our finances by seeking charitable status. Indeed we make a contribution to the public purse by paying Business Rates, VAT and Income Tax. After making these contributions, the entrance fee is used to maintain our Grade 1 listed building, maintain and expand the collection and displays and provide us with a living. And it works. Those people that want to see the collection pay for it. The collection is probably the best on public display in SW England and gets better each year.


We have nearly 14,000 specimens on display and this is increasing on an almost daily basis. We put all our specimens on display and do not have any hidden away in storerooms for the select few to see. These specimens are found by us or we buy them at market rate. A very small number of specimens have been donated. But before we accept donations, we try and persuade the finder to take their specimen home and treasure it. It seems to us that a treasured fossil on display in a home is a source of pride and an encouragement to further interest. The specimens are important but the stories behind how they were collected are equally important. We try and include information on the people involved and how the specimens were found.


Our museum puts our specimens on display and it is the specimens that are important not the display. We build all the cabinets ourselves despite poor carpentry skills, confident in the knowledge that the cabinets are just the housing but the specimens are what we are really interested in. There are no flashy bits with big pictures, animations, special lighting and fancy cabinets. The substance is more important than the image We do not have any so called interactive or hands on displays. People come to see the fossils, not animations or games. If they want to see animations or play games, they can go to a theme park or play on their computer. We do not believe in dumbing down for our visitors. People are interested in science and knowledge and are able to understand complex issues which are presented clearly and without jargon. We fully expect our younger visitors to know that the Iapetus Ocean separated Scotland and England 400 million years ago. Encouragingly, most of them have no problem getting this as an answer on our quiz for children aged 5 and older. The museum is a traditional museum and it is important to us to have large numbers of specimens on display. You can read as much of the extensive text we have written about them as you wish. But you can just enjoy the beauty of the fossils if that is what you prefer. Ultimately, we hope there is so much on display that you can muse over the significance of what you see in whatever way works best for you. All available space is used to display more exhibits. There is no restaurant - there are many good places to eat within a few hundred yards, run by people who can do it much better than we ever could. There is no children’s room for little ones to run around in - there is a wonderful playground complete with pirate ship nearby. There is the idea that people and particularly young children, need things to be simplified and made more glitzy to be interesting. We would argue that the specimens are exciting enough as it is. There is also the idea that young children need to be able to run around or they will not be interested. It is our experience that children know the difference between a playground and a museum if you give them the chance. One of the great delights of being at the museum every day is seeing the reaction of the children as they open the door to go in and are confronted by a wall of ammonites ranging in size from a penny to a wheel. The usual reaction is ‘Wow!’ and the children appreciate the specimens rather than the way they are displayed.