Yorkshire Museum

< Back to News

New display ‘Mary Anning Rocks’ to open at the Yorkshire Museum in July!

DATE: 5 June 2023

Uncover the story of unsung hero and fossil hunter, Mary Anning, through a new family friendly display at the Yorkshire Museum.

‘Mary Anning Rocks’, an exciting new display celebrating the inspiring story of the renowned palaeontologist, is set to open on 14 July 2023 at the Yorkshire Museum! Best known for discovering Jurassic marine fossils in Lyme Regis on the southwestern coast of England,

this family friendly exhibition will introduce Mary Anning (1799-1847), and explain how this pioneering woman of science changed the way we view the natural world.

Based in our award-winning Jurassic galleries, the story of Mary Anning will begin alongside a striking statuette of the fossil hunter, on loan from the Mary Anning Rocks charity.

Mary Anning was an ordinary person who found fossils in her local area, and even though she was working class and a woman, both characteristics that were discriminated against, she became one of the most significant scientists of the day. She is globally known for discovering what was later confirmed as the first ichthyosaur skeleton when she was 13 years old, and an almost complete plesiosaur skeleton later in her career.

The statuette in the exhibition will be an inspirational presence to encourage and show visitors that great things can be achieved from almost impossible circumstances.

Visitors will be able to read and learn about Mary Anning’s Jurassic discoveries, and then view the Yorkshire Museum’s Giant Ichthyosaur. At over 180 million years old the incredible specimen was found near Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. This specific Ichthyosaur is particularly large, measuring around eight metres, making it one of the biggest ever discovered in Britain.

Dr Sarah King, Curator of Natural Science at the Yorkshire Museum said: “It’s been a privilege to work on this new display, and I sincerely hope it helps to give a forgotten woman of science the recognition she deserves. It will tell the story of her life and incredible discoveries, but will also encourage people of all ages to journey to the coast to find their own fossils. Mary Anning may have made her fossil hunting career on the southern coast, but this display will also highlight the outstanding fossil record of Yorkshire.

“As part of the project we are excited to be working with community groups to undertake fossil trips to the Yorkshire Coast and will share their finds and stories in the exhibition. Fossil finding is much the same as it was 200 years ago when Anning was operating, so we hope this display will encourage visitors to explore how they can find fossils themselves and follow in the footsteps of Mary Anning.”

The display will run through the York summer holidays, with a packed programme of family activities, self-led trails and events running throughout, including the opportunity to meet Mary Anning herself! On select dates we’re excited to be welcoming Mary Anning to the Yorkshire Museum where she’ll be on hand to answer any questions and to tell her inspiring story.

Mary Anning Rocks will be open from 14 July – 20 September 2023, and will be included within general admission. To find out more and book tickets visit www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk.