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All the latest news from Lyme Regis Museum

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EVENTS: Coming up in February

Family Fun Day

Wednesday 17th February sees another Family Fun Day at Lyme Regis Museum, with free entrance from 11 am to 4 pm. Children can enjoy a dinosaur paper craft activity, with Alison Bowskill from Woodroffe School showing children how to make and decorate a ferocious T Rex and a flying Pterosaur(as pictured).

Talk - Thursday 4th February in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm

2012 – A Summer to Remember and Olympic and Paralympic Legacy - The Weymouth Sailing Olympics: preparations and legacy, from the head of operations, Simon Williams, MBE. Organised by The Friends of Lyme Regis Museum.

Exhibitions

Almost a distant land - Liz Somerville's exhibition in the Rotunda continues until mid-April. Original hand-coloured linocuts and photographic reproductions show how the land meets the sea along the Dorset coastline - including images of Charmouth, Lyme Regis and the Cobb.

Ernestine's story - A new exhibition in the ground floor gallery telling the story of Ernestine Collier, a local lady who lived all her life in Lyme and died there last October, aged 86.

Walks

There is a full schedule of Fossil walks this month, although and Mary Anning walks, Lyme History walks and Rockpooling walks are in recess until the Spring.

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The Dorset Heritage Centre has returned to the Museum one of the bound sets of volumes in which Cyril Wanklyn had the Lyme Regis Borough/Court records translated from Latin where necessary and summarised. These records extend back from Victorian times to the 14th Century. The original records remain in Dorchester, where the Heritage Centre can keep them under better conditions that we can, but students of Lyme history no longer need to trek there to see the summaries. Cyril serialised the juiciest stories from the records in local newspapers and in his book Lyme Leaflets, published in 1944 by friends after his death.

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New Exhibition: Ernestine's Story

Lyme Regis Museum has a new exhibition in the ground floor gallery. It tells the story of Ernestine Collier, a local lady who lived all her life in Lyme and died there last October, aged 86.

When she was sorting her mother’s possessions, Diana Hunt found that she had kept mementoes of events in her life. These included her wedding veil, photographs, certificates and other items. This little collection tells a poignant story of what could be described as an “ordinary” life. Ernestine was born in Lyme, went to school here, worked in local shops, such as Braggs, married Sydney Collier, a war veteran, injured in the Second World War, had children and ended her days in Lyme close to her family. Ernestine’s life had its tragedies and joys, all revealed by her collection of personal treasures.

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New Exhibition: Almost a Distant Land

The new year is underway at Lyme Regis Museum with a new art exhibition by Liz Somerville. Situated in the Rotunda, it will continue until mid-April. It is titled "Almost a Distant Land" because Liz feels that Dorset has a dreamy, far away quality. Original hand-coloured linocuts and photographic reproductions show how the land meets the sea along the Dorset coastline. It includes images of Charmouth, Lyme Regis and the Cobb.

Liz Somerville graduated from Winchester School of Art, worked independently in London and now lives in Dorset where she concentrates on her print making. She is inspired by the simplicity and “Englishness “of the work of Eric Ravillious and Edward Bawden and by the ever-changing countryside surrounding her studio. She has had numerous open studios and group exhibitions.

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Railway Exhibition - Last Few Days!

Sadly our popular exhibition entitled “The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago” will be closing after this coming weekend. So if you haven't seen it yet, or would like to visit it again, there are just a few days left to catch it – in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum.

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January is a quiet month but even in the middle of Winter you can enjoy our current exhibition and regular fossil walks:

Exhibition

Currently on display in the Rotunda Gallery is “The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago”. This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the axing of the rail connection between Axminster and Lyme by Dr Richard Beeching on 27th November 1965. It aims to show visitors what the line was like during its short life from 1903 to 1965, including a newly commissioned painting, The Early Train to Lyme on Cannington Viaduct, by accomplished local transport artist Michael Stride.

Walks

There is a full schedule of Fossil walks this month, although and Mary Anning walks, Lyme History walks and Rockpooling walks have finished until the Spring.

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The Lyme Railway - Exhibition Extended!

Just a quick note to say that the popular railway exhibition at Lyme Regis Museum will continue into the New Year and until further notice. Currently on display in the Rotunda Gallery, “The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago” marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Beeching's closure of the line from Axminster to Lyme Regis. The exhibition shows visitors what the line was like during its short life from 1903 to 1965, including a newly commissioned painting, The Early Train to Lyme on Cannington Viaduct, by accomplished local transport artist Michael Stride.

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NOW ONLINE: Mary Anning's Commonplace Book

Mary Anning’s Commonplace Book is on display at Lyme Regis Museum, but it is too fragile for handling so a scanned copy has now been placed on the Museum's web site to make it more easily accessible – click here to see it.

© On loan from Dorset County Museum which retains copyright and from where permission to publish must be obtained.

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Shipwrecks of Lyme Bay

Tuesday 8th December at 2.30pm in Woodmead Hall: A talk by Nigel Clarke, organized jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Children's Craft Activities

Wednesday 30th December 11 am to 2 pm: Decorate ammonite plates and make a dinosaur on a stick - suitable for ages 3 to 12. Price £2.50 per child as fundraising for the new Mary Anning wing.

Exhibition

Currently on display in the Rotunda Gallery is “The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago”. This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the axing of the rail connection between Axminster and Lyme by Dr Richard Beeching on 27th November 1965. It aims to show visitors what the line was like during its short life from 1903 to 1965, including a newly commissioned painting, The Early Train to Lyme on Cannington Viaduct, by accomplished local transport artist Michael Stride.

Walks

There is a full schedule of Fossil walks this month, although and Mary Anning walks, Lyme History walks and Rockpooling walks have finished until next year.

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The story of the Mary Anning token, now on display in Lyme Regis Museum, was picked up by no fewer than three major national newspapers this week:

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Talks

Thursday 12th November at 2.30pm in Woodmead Hall: Images of Dartmoor. The life, history and legends of the moor by Dartmoor National Park guide Tony Burges.

Exhibition

Currently on display in the Rotunda Gallery is “The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago”. This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the axing of the rail connection between Axminster and Lyme by Dr Richard Beeching on 27th November 1965. It aims to show visitors what the line was like during its short life from 1903 to 1965, including a newly commissioned painting, The Early Train to Lyme on Cannington Viaduct, by accomplished local transport artist Michael Stride.

Walks

There is a full schedule of Fossil walks and Mary Anning walks this month, although Lyme History walks and Rockpooling walks have finished until next year.

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NEW IN THE MUSEUM: Mystery Find on Beach

This small metal disc was found on Church Cliff beach, Lyme Regis, by detectorist Phil Goodwin who has kindly donated it to the Museum. The inscription raises the intriguing possibility that it may have belonged to famous fossil collector Mary Anning.

The Mary Anning Token

The token is a metal disc about 25mm in diameter, 1 mm thick. It is an alloy, possibly brass, old but not corroded. The exciting aspects are the inscriptions: On the front are impressed the words “MARY ANNING MDCCCX” (1810), while on the reverse it says: “LYME REGIS AGE XI” (11). In 1810 Mary was eleven years old and had yet to find her first ichthyosaur still less the plesiosaur which made her famous. So what is the token? And how did it come to be on the beach? It was found on the beach below Church Cliffs where Mary could well have lost it during a fossil collecting expedition. Or it may have landed on the beach when Mary’s home, battered and damaged by wind and weather, was demolished at the end of the 19th century to make way for the Museum. However it ended up on the beach, it is likely to have joined other debris which would have been swept along by tides and weather. Many domestic items have been found on that stretch of beach along with exciting fossil finds.

Was it a birthday present?

Mary’s dad, Richard Anning, could well have made it for his daughter as an eleventh birthday token. As a cabinet maker, he had the tools to impress a metal disc as he would have hand made metal labels for his furniture. Some other ideas about the token are that it could have been a personal identity disc, possibly for collection of parish poor relief; perhaps it was a token to acknowledge attendance at church or Sunday school. It could even have been an early tourist keepsake.Overall, however, the possibility that the token actually did belong to Mary Anning and was made for her when she was eleven years old seems the most likely.

On display in the Museum

We may never know the real story behind the mysterious token found on the beach. However, it will be on display in Lyme Regis Museum from today (in the sloping desk glass cabinet by Monmouth’s bed board), so visitors are encouraged to come and see it and decide for themselves the mystery of the Mary Anning Token.

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Half Term Treats at the Museum

There will be lots to do at Lyme Regis Museum over half-term: on Tuesday 27th, and Thursday 29th, children’s craft activities and fossil polishing will be on offer.

The museum’s HUG group (Help Us Grow) will provide a range of craft activities on Tues 27th on the museum terrace if dry, inside the building if wet. These will include “Make-a Saurus”, using clay and other materials, Christmas decorations and Find a Fossil. It will run from 11.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. and cost £2.50 per child, all proceeds going towards the new Mary Anning Wing extension.

Thursday 29th October will be Free Entry Day at the museum. A Family Fun session will run from 10.30 – 3.00 making spooky Halloween crafts to take home. There will be fossil polishing (as pictured above) on the terrace from 10.30 -3.00 pm – the last session of the season, at pocket money prices.

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The Bearded Lady Project

"The Bearded Lady Project" is a documentary film and photographic project celebrating the work of female paleontologists and highlighting the challenges and obstacles they face. Recently a team of American female academics came to Lyme Regis to take some images for the project, with the aim of encouraging young women to pursue a career in palaeontology. They do this by photographing female palaeontologists out in the field wearing false beards (the cliché being that all geologists are men with beards!).

The accompanying photo shows our volunteer geologist Kate Acheson, who got a First this year and will be working in the area for three years doing her PhD. The picture was taken by Anna Holbrook, our intern this summer who is also a geologist.

To find out more about the Bearded Lady Project, see their official website.

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Talks

  • Thursday 1st October at 2.30pm in Woodmead Hall: Around Hardown Hill – Life of a Community in the 1800s, by Jane Ferentzi Sheppard. An historical look at life in the Morcombelake area.
  • Tuesday 27th October at the Catholic Church, Chideock: The Chideock Martyrs, by Denys Brunsden (joint talk with the Lyme Regis Society>)

Facts about Fossils

These regular talks are given by Museum Learning Officer, Chris Andrew. This month they are on Saturday 10th and Saturday 24th October, at 2.30 pm in the Museum.

Exhibition

A new exhibition,“The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago”, opens in the Rotunda Gallery on 7th October to mark the 50th anniversary of the axing of the rail connection between Axminster and Lyme by Dr Richard Beeching on 27th November 1965. It aims to show visitors what the line was like during its short life from 1903 to 1965, including a newly commissioned painting, The Early Train to Lyme on Cannington Viaduct, by accomplished local transport artist Michael Stride.

Walks

As usual there are plenty of regular walks this month:

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COMING SOON: The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago

A new exhibition,“The Lyme Railway: Axed Fifty Years Ago”, will be opening in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum on 7th October.

The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the axing of the rail connection between Axminster and Lyme by Dr Richard Beeching on 27th November 1965. It aims to show visitors what the line was like during its short life from 1903 to 1965, with some previously shown material by Ken Gollop together with some new material by Richard Bull. Also featured are:

  • A newly commissioned painting: The Early Train to Lyme on Cannington Viaduct by accomplished local transport artist Michael Stride
  • The Museum’s Lyme Regis Station model set as on closure day
  • Some mementos of the line and lots of images.

The accompanying photograph shows a train arriving at Lyme Regis station circa 1960 (photo kindly donated by E S Gosling in 2009).

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A chance to see the Cemetery Chapel

Ken Gollop and Graham Davies of the Museum's Research Group are holding an open day at Lyme's Cemetery Chapel today. It is part of Dorset Architectural Heritage Week and the building is open until 4pm. This is a very rare chance to see the inside of the chapel.

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Model ichthyosaur is named

The Museum's enormous Lego Ichthyosaur has been named "Blue Fin" following a prize competition. The winner of the £25 Amazon voucher was seven year old Phoebe Dell. Well done Phoebe!

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Talk: James McNeil Whistler

Tuesday 29th September at 2.30 pm in Woodmead Hall: A talk by Sandra Lello, organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Facts about Fossils

These regular talks are given by Museum Learning Officer, Chris Andrew. This month they are on Saturday 5th and Saturday 12th September, at 2.30 pm in the Museum.

Social Events

  • Sunday 13th September: Home-made cakes, produce and gifts stall at Marine Parade Shelter, 11 am to 3 pm
  • Wednesday 16th September: Quiz Night at the Inn Plaice, Pilot Boat, 7.30 pm

Exhibition

On currently at Lyme Regis Museum is "Coast, Cliff and Crashing Waves", a photography exhibition by Sam Rose. It runs until 3rd October 2015, and further details can be found on the main Exhibitions page.

Walks

There is a rockpooling walk at 4.30 pm on Saturday 5th September, as well as the following regular walks:

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HUG Events in August

Lyme Regis Museum's HUG ("Help Us Grow") initiative sees three extravaganzas on offer during August:

  • a book sale on Wed 5th
  • “Make-a Saurus” on Wed 12th
  • An ongoing competition, “Name Our Brickosaur”

All proceeds will go to the proposed new Mary Anning Wing extension fund.

The book sale will take place on the Museum terrace unless the weather is too wet. “Make-a Saurus”, a children’s activity which has already proved very popular, will also be on the terrace, price £2.50 per child.

Inside the Museum, in the fossil gallery, is a huge Lego ichthyosaur. Children are invited to name it and the winner will be announced in September; £1 per entry at the museum reception desk. A £25 Amazon voucher is the prize.

The accompanying picture shows HUG volunteers with children at recent Make-a Saurus event.

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