Explore Prehistoric Giants at Bishop Auckland Town Hall’s New Exhibitions

Visitors are invited to step back in time with two new exhibitions showing the giant prehistoric monsters that once roamed the UK and Europe.

Carboniferous Monsters will be at Bishop Auckland Town Hall this summer until Saturday 31 August.

Situated in the Durham County Council venue’s main gallery, visitors can step back to the Carboniferous period, 100 million years before the dinosaurs, and visit tropical forests and swamps teeming with bizarre and ferocious ancient monsters – some of which had larger teeth than T-Rex.

Meet the dinosaurs’ distant ancestors: the very first reptiles, the largest creepy-crawlies ever to live, and prehistoric animals unlike anything anyone has seen before. Come face-to-face with scorpions the size of dogs, millipedes the length of crocodiles, and giant meat-eating dragonflies the size of seagulls.

Continue to the venue’s Strong Room Gallery to see Two Minutes to Midnight, an exhibition created by artist and Newcastle University fine art student Sarah March. It continues the prehistoric theme with eight giant canvas panels as reimagined cave paintings, each covering a period of time from the Carboniferous to now – the rise of man.

County Durham’s vast coalfields were created during the Carboniferous period by the compressed remains of animals and plants which existed at that time. If the history of the earth was a 24-hour clock, a full day, then dinosaurs only appeared at 11.30pm, half an hour before the end of the day, while humans only appeared at around two minutes before midnight.

The species depicted in Two Minutes to Midnight range from plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates on both the land and in the sea. All the species are chosen as their fossils were found in the British Isles, Europe or worldwide.

Explore Prehistoric Giants at Bishop Auckland Town Hall's New Exhibitions

“We are delighted to bring two exciting exhibitions to Bishop Auckland Town Hall this summer. It is absolutely fascinating to learn about the creatures that would have roamed the same Earth we now live on and see up-close what they would have looked like 100 million years ago.

“We are also pleased to be able to use our gallery space to support regional talent and showcase the fantastic work by a North East artist. We are committed to creating cultural opportunities for our residents by hosting exhibitions which are not only free to access but put a spotlight on artists in our region.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships

Carboniferous Monsters is a blockbuster national touring exhibition that features stunning 350-million-year-old original fossils, reconstructed giant prehistoric animals, and skeleton casts from museums around the world, many of which have never been displayed in the UK before.

Both exhibitions will be free to view from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

For more information, visit www.bishopaucklandtownhall.org.uk

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