THE Yorkshire Fossil Festival will return to Scarborough for a weekend of 30 activities and events for families, enthusiasts and professionals alike from September 13 to 15. All of them will be free.

Now in its fifth year, the event will be bigger than ever, with Yorkshire and national museums, universities and businesses providing entertainment and expertise.Friday the 13th will be lucky for children as that day will feature events especially for schools.

Among the highlights will be a rare showing of one of the original geological maps created by William ‘Strata’ Smith, known as the Father of English geology, to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth; an exhibition by contemporary artist Kathy Prendergast and a careers' fair for would-be geologists.

The festival will be based at the Rotunda Museum and its surrounding grounds, in Vernon Road, and for the first time events will take place at Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend art and craft gallery, both in The Crescent.

Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust, says: "We're delighted to be hosting the Yorkshire Fossil Festival here in Scarborough again. This year is the 250th anniversary of William Smith’s birth, so we wanted to do something different to honour the ‘father of geology’. For the first time ever, we will be exhibiting one of Smith’s original maps.

“We’re also very excited to have developed a new partnership with award-winning art and science organisation Invisible Dust. Between us, we’ve invited internationally renowned artist Kathy Prendergast to create an exhibition that explores her ongoing fascination with maps and a hidden history of women in geology."

Over the festival weekend, Invisible Dust also will create an intriguing secret gallery with budding environmental activists from St Peter’s School and artists Janet White and Charlotte Salt at the Rotunda Museum.

"Our Learning Team will be delivering a range of events for families and visitors throughout the weekend," says Andrew. "For budding geologists, we've partnered with the University of Hull and Sirius Mineral to host a geology careers fair at Woodend – and we’re calling it, of course, Jobs That Rock!"

Fossil Festival exhibitors and contributors will include: the Universities of Hull, Leeds and Leicester; the Natural History Museum; the Isle of Wight’s Dinosaur Isle museum; Whitby Museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

For more information on activities and events at Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and Woodend, call 01723 384503 or visit