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Next weekend, 23-24 May, Lyme Regis Museum celebrates Mary Anning Weekend , with free entrance to the museum on Saturday 23rd and fossil polishing on the terrace on both days between 10 am and 4 pm.

Other activities:

  • Natalie Manifold will give an illustrated talk on Mary Anning in the museum at 3.15 on Sat 23rd.
  • Angharad Strillozzi will run a “Brickosaur” children’s activity in the community room above the Town mill gallery on Sat.23rd, from 10.30 to 12 and again from 2 to 4 pm.
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LYME REGIS MUSEUM DOES FOSSIL FEST

The Museum has lots of exciting activities and exhibits for Fossil Fest on 1-3rd May.

All day in the Marquee on the beach, our team will be providing fossil polishing; ammonites can be purchased at pocket-money prices; you will be shown how to prepare your fossil for its final glossy finish. They make memorable souvenirs of the festival..and good presents!

Alongside the Fossil Polishing will be our Pop-Up shop selling a range of products including our new “goodie”, or lucky-dip bags. On sale too will be copies of Simon Winchester’s book, “The Map that Changed the World”, at a special reduced price.

On Saturday and Sunday, 2nd and 3rd May, there will be free entrance to the Museum.

Special Exhibitions

  • A range of interesting new fossils on loan from Dorchester County Museum
  • An original first edition of William Smith’s “Map that Changed the World”, which first charted the geology of Britain

Talks

At 2.30p.m. on Saturday and Sunday Professor Tom Sharpe, recently retired from Cardiff University, will give a talk about the “Map that Changed the World” in the Museum. He and other geologists such as Chris Andrew and Ben Brooks will be around during both days to answer questions and tell you about it and about the fossil display.

THE REST OF THE MONTH

Facts about Fossils

A talk by Museum Learning Officer, Chris Andrew, at 2.30 pm on Saturday 16th May and Saturday 30th May.

Ongoing Exhibition: NightLyme

International fashion photographer Joe Boggon also takes very interesting exposures of Lyme Bay at night. Come along to the Rotunda Gallery between 1st April and 28th June to see his exhibition.

Walks

The full range of guided walks is on offer this month:

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Lyme's Battle with the Sea

The web-site now contains two extensive articles about the Town's sea defences by Museum researcher, Richard Bull.

Click here to read the articles.

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The summer season has started at Lyme Regis Museum with opening hours 10.00 a.m. till 5.00 p.m Mondays to Saturdays and 11.00 a.m.till 5.00 p.m on Sundays. April sees a new exhibition in the Rotunda and a cake and home produce stall from the new "Help us Grow" group. More events are planned for the rest of the season, with learning officer Chris Andrew giving regular "Know Your Fossils" talks in the museum on many Saturdays. It promises to be a busy and exciting summer at Lyme Regis Museum!

Cake & Goodies Sale

Wednesday 8th April from 10.30am at the Museum, in aid of the new Mary Anning Wing.

Dinosaurs of Crystal Palace Park

Thursday 16th April in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A talk by Professor Joe Cain. Thirty statues were created by Benjamin Hawkins for the 1854 park. We’ll explore the struggle to design and create these first ever life-sized models and their conservation today.

Lyme Regis Philpot Museum – Then, now and future

Tuesday 28th April in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A presentation by Museum Director David Tucker, organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Exhibition: NightLyme

International fashion photographer Joe Boggon also takes very interesting exposures of Lyme Bay at night. Come along to the Rotunda Gallery between 1st April and 28th June to see his exhibition.

Walks

The full range of guided walks is on offer this month:

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Early Lyme Regis

We now have an article about the very early settlements around Lyme. Click here to read it.

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Lyme Regis Museum wants to hear what the people of Lyme think about its plans to extend the museum through the creation of the Mary Anning Wing.

Director David Tucker said “As many people know, the museum has been working on a plan to extend the museum for several years. We are making excellent progress and have over £1,000,000 pledged and have very significant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We now want to give the people of Lyme a chance to see our plans”.

Consultations are being held at the Woodmead Hall between 2 pm and 5 pm on Tuesday March 31st. David added “I’ll be there to meet local people, as will our architect Robert Battersby and other members of the museum trust.”

The Mary Anning Wing is intended to bring the museum building up to modern standards by providing a new Learning Space for schools, universities and community groups, public toilets as well as a lift, a larger shop and a re-designed fossil gallery.

Over the years we’ve consulted many museum visitors and not surprisingly as interested as they are with the town’s wonderful history, they also want us to have basic facilities. Our spiral staircase might be lovely, but it isn’t easy for people with mobility challenges to climb and currently, we are sending even very young children across a busy road to use the public loos. As we get 25,000 visitors a year and are the most popular Dorset museum for schools not having these things makes life very difficult.”, added David.

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Sea Defences - The Cobb breakwater

Our web-site now contains an article giving an extensive history of the Cobb breakwater.

Click here to read Richard Bull's article.

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New in the Museum: Novelty Postcards

As pictured above, Lyme Regis Museum has a new exhibit of Novelty Postcards on show! This features a number of novelty cards of Lyme, taken from a collection recently given by the Friends of the Museum. It will remain on display until mid May.

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Vile Ministers and Poor Silly Creatures

Thursday 5th March in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A talk by Bruce Upton. Stories from Dorset in the Civil War, some tragic, some comic, all happening in the mid 1600s.

Robert Hildyard - Lord of Catherstone Manor

Tuesday 31st March in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A presentation by Mike Seaman, organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Exhibition: Serendipity

On display in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum until 31st March 2015, an exhibition of items from the Reserve Collections chosen by the Curatorial and Research Teams for your enjoyment, with a few things loaned by our friends.

Walks

The first rockpooling walk of the year will take place on Thursday 12th March at 2.20 pm, in addition to the full schedule of other walks:

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Newly found Ichthyosaur named after Mary Anning

A fossil ichthyosaur that was discovered on the Dorset coast in the 1980s has been discovered to be a totally new species. What's more, it has been named Ichthyosaurus anningae after Lyme's famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning. To read more about the ichthyosaur and to watch a video click on this link.

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Family Fun Day - February half-term 2015

Have great fun making a Pasta-saurus between 11am and 3pm on Thursday 19th February.

Everything is free all day!

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EVENTS: Coming up in February

Thomas Hawkins and his Sea Dragons – a mad, bad, fossil collector?

Thursday 5th February in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A talk by Stephen Locke. Hawkins was a highly successful and in every way extraordinary, notorious and obsessive early collector of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. A contemporary of Mary Anning but a very different character!

Lyme through the year – a photographer’s view

Tuesday 24th February in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A presentation by Peter Wiles, organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Exhibition: Serendipity

On display in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum until 31st March 2015, an exhibition of items from the Reserve Collections chosen by the Curatorial and Research Teams for your enjoyment, with a few things loaned by our friends.

Walks

The rockpooling and Lyme History walks will return in March, but February has plenty of fossil-related walks on offer:

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New Exhibition: Serendipity

From 14th January, there will be a new exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum. It is a “lucky-dip“ of pictures and objects from our reserve collections, chosen and put together by the Curatorial and research teams at the Museum.

Works by Richard Eurich and other Lyme painters will be shown, together with items from the Museum’s John Fowles collection of New Hall fine porcelain made around 1790-1810. Other curious but more everyday pottery will be shown alongside.

If you have wondered what the museum has tucked away in reserve, this is a chance to view some of our treasures. The exhibition will run until 31st March. Opening hours are 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday during this winter period.

Pictured above: "The Pink House" by Richard Eurich, OBE, RA (1903–1992). Oil on canvas, 1933. Specially loaned for this exhibition by Ronald Severs.

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A shell-crushing Jurassic fish

One of the many impressive fossils on display in Lyme Regis Museum is that of a Jurassic fish known as Dapedium. This was first discovered by Lyme's pioneering  fossil collector Mary Anning in the nineteenth century, but one of its secrets has only just been uncovered by an undergraduate student at Bristol University. In a groundbreaking paper in the prestigious journal Palaeontology, Fiann Smithwick has reconstructed the feeding behaviour of this extraordinary ancient fish - showing how it used its powerful jaws to crush the hard shells of its prey.

As part of his research project, Fiann studied the specimen in Lyme Regis museum and worked closely with the museum's geologist Paddy Howe. For further information about Fiann's work, see the University of Bristol website.

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There is still time to catch the Sydney Jessett exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery, which has been extended into the first few days of January. But the last day will be Sunday 4th January!

A new exhibition should be opening soon - watch this space!

Even though it's the middle of winter, there are still plenty of Fossil walks on offer - every day from 2nd to 11th January, and again from 18th to 26th!

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The Conservation of Seaside Towns

Tuesday 9th December at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. An illustrated talk by Peter Coe of The Lyme Regis Society. Organised jointly with The Lyme Regis Society.

Know your Fossils

Saturday 27th December at 2.30pm. A talk and hands-on experience of local fossils with the Museum's geologists.

Exhibitions

The Sydney Jessett exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery closes on 1st December 2014. but you can still read about it on the Exhibitions page, as well as any news of forthcoming exhibitions.

Walks

The rockpooling and Lyme History walks have now finished for the winter, but there are still plenty of fossil-related walks on offer this month:

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Another chance to see our World War I exhibition

If you missed our WWI exhibition then you can see it now, in high resolution, on our Past Exhibitions page. Click here.

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EVENTS: Coming up in November

What is a Shaman?

Thursday 6th November at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. A discussion by the Curator of Ethnography at Exeter Museum on centuries-old practices involving interaction with the spiritual world. Illustrated using objects from the Museum's collection. Organised by the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum.

Exhibitions

Two exhibitions continue in the Museum from last month:

  • World War I and Lyme Regis: The lower gallery of the Museum contains a major exhibition commemorating World War I and the men of Lyme and Uplyme who fought and sacrificed all. Until the end of October.
  • Sydney Jessett, Lyme Painter: Exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery, Lyme Regis Museum 1st October – 1st December 2014. Sydney Jessett (1885-1961), whose work is not as well-known as it should be, was a prolific and gifted Lyme landscape artist. His work spanned the period from before his service in the First World War in Flanders to his time in Lyme, where he produced thousands of water colours of Lyme landscapes from 1939 to the 1950s.

For further information about these and future exhibitions, see the Exhibitions page.

Walks

The rockpooling and Lyme History walks have now finished for the winter, but there are still plenty of fossil-related walks on offer this month:

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Lyme Freedom returns from Down Under

Australian coffee shop owners Jeff and Debi Johnson, from Crystal Brook South Australia, repatriated a Freedom of the Borough of Lyme Regis certificate at Lyme Regis Guildhall, today, Monday 13th October at 10.00 am.
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Its return, 76 years after being presented in 1938 to former Lyme Museum Curator, Cyril Wanklyn, was received by Museum Director David Tucker at the exact spot where it was awarded.

The photograph to the right shows Mayor William Emmett conferring the award of Freedom and the Certificate is shown below. The certificate is a beautiful example of calligraphy and it bears the old town seal. It will become a key exhibit in a new display about Cyril Wanklyn.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Cyril-Wanklyns-Freedom-of-Lyme-certificate.jpgCyril Wanklyn, one of Lyme’s foremost historians, saved the Museum and the ancient borough records from oblivion. His work on the records saw them transcribed and placed in safe custody. It was for that the award was given, recorded in a brass plaque in the Guildhall. Lyme has the most complete set of records of any small borough, going back to the 14th century.

The remarkable story is that Debi Johnson bought the certificate for its beauty in Hazel’s Antiques in Blakeview, just north of Adelaide, 20 years ago. Debi had no idea of its significance until an internet search threw up information about Cyril Wanklyn on the Lyme Regis Museum’s web site – and, contacting researcher Graham Davies, Jeff and Debi offered to come over to the UK and present it to the Museum in exchange for a digital copy to display in their coffee shop. How this certificate got to Australia is a mystery, but Cyril may have many Australian connections besides his known chairmanship of mining syndicates.

Jeff said “Debbi and I are excited and intrigued that through sheer luck and coincidence we are a part of the mystery of this certificate. We have discussed things over and would love to return the certificate to Lyme personally. It’d be nice to display it, along with the related story, in our Coffee Shop here in Crystal Brook”.

David Tucker said “The Museum is pleased to provide a secure home for this piece of Lyme Regis history and to be able to honour Cyril Wanklyn for what he did for the Town and the Museum. Thank you so much, Jeff and Debi.

If you would like to learn more about Cyril Wanlklyn and the emormous legacy of historical information he left the town then you can read about him on the People and Places area of our web-site.

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Museum Half Term Events

October 30th sees Lyme Regis Museum running one of its Fun Days! Admission to the museum is free and Alison Bowskill will be at hand to carry out a craft activity with visiting families.

On both October 30th and 31st the museum will be running its famous Fossil Polishing event on the museum terrace (weather permitting!). For pocket money prices, visitors have the chance to prepare their own polished piece of Jurassic Magic for them to take home. With our expert geologists present (as seen in the accompanying image) it’s also a chance to learn something of life in the ancient seas of Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast. And where else would one wish to prepare a fossil other than on the same spot that Mary Anning carried out much of her great works of fossil discovery?

The museum is open from 10 to 5 each day and Fossil Polishing will run between 10 and approximately 4pm.

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