Giants of the Jurassic Coast are going on display to mark the first year of a new visitor attraction.

The Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life at Kimmeridge, set up by enthusiast Steve Etches last year, houses fossils he and others have discovered on the Dorset coast, some of which are up to 150 million years old.

To mark its first anniversary, the museum will be exhibiting an “nationally important” three-metre long ichthyosaur fossil specimen.

It will be shown alongside a lifesize sculpture of a pliosaur, a stunningly realistic ‘sea monster’ which mirrors the 2.6-metre long pliosaur jaw fossil specimen from the collection.

Other fossil specimens which have been donated are also being worked on.

Museum spokesman Carla Crook said: “We are launching these exhibits to commemorate the first year of our opening and to reaffirm ourselves as a ‘Centre of Excellence for Learning and Discovery’, and home for such special fossil specimens which continue to provide wonder and amazement and new discoveries to the world of science.”

Ichthyosaurs were prehistoric marine reptiles, similar in looks to dolphins, which swam the seas of Jurassic Dorset 150-157 million years ago.

Earlier this year, the museum received a donation of a 3-metre long ichthyosaur fossil specimen which was discovered in 1993 by Phil Jacobs.

Steve Etches has spent several months preparing it for the exhibition.

Carla Crook said: “The fossil came to us semi-prepared from the top surface (the surface which was exposed when it was found) and has spent the last three months here with us in our workshop being re-prepped from the underside.

“By preparing the specimen from the underside it has enabled us to reveal a much better level of preservation than was seen before.”

She added: “This amazing specimen represents one of the most complete ichthyosaurs to have come from the Kimmeridge Clay here in Dorset and has some incredibly unique features, new to science.

“The creature died on its back – we estimate that when alive and complete it measured five metres in length from snout to tail approximately making it one of the largest and complete found in the Kimmeridgian of the UK.”

With this new addition, The Etches Collection now holds the largest collection of articulated ichthyosaurs from the Kimmeridge Clay held anywhere in Britain and yet to be described.

The Jurassic Giants will be on display from tomorrow. The museum is open every day from 10am-5pm.