Mary Anning

Mary Anning (1799 -1847) was a poor Georgian/ Victorian Lady whose enthusiasm and love of paleontology lead to her becoming well known in international geological circles. Although used as a consultant, her status as a woman meant that she was ineligible to join the Geological Society of London. That, however, did not prevent her work from leading to fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life during her life time. A Royal Society list in 2010 of the ten women who have most influenced science featured her name.

There is no set script for the presentation, it depends on what artefacts or subjects the audience become interested in . However, the material can be steered in the direction(s) desired by the class teacher.

Visiting characters

We offer two characters for this topic:

The Historian

The Historian tells the story of Mary Anning from a wider perspective; with her story set in a local and national context. Discover how one person made a significant contrition to the new science of geology. And, why now museums are seeking to identify her work.

Mary Anning

Meet Mary as she tells you about her life, fossil collecting and dealing. Learn about life in Georgian and Victorian England; with the limitations it placed on a ladies if they followed convention. Where there is time she might show you a meal. Or teach you a game to entertain your evening hours with. Be careful what you ask her though! You are as likely to be trained in the art of behaving well as taught how to clean fossils. Or, told a story about her amazing finds along the black cliffs of Lyme Regis.

Mary can tell tales about:

  • Discovering new finds and the dangers working under the black cliffs of Lyme Regis
  • Fossil hunting and  preparing the finds for sale
  • The struggle to live in late Georgian and early Victorian times – clothes, hygiene, food, leisure, homes, healthcare, social customs and etiquette.
  • Famous people of the time – Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Robert Stevenson, Elizabeth Fry, William Buckland
  • Famous events – Puffing Billy runs, End of the Napoleonic wars, Death of Queen Charlotte, Steam powered ships, abolition of slavery in all British territories.

Mary Anning Workshops

Workshops can include: sorting fossils, making ammonite imprints, fossil hunt – match – draw activity, looking at a modern paleontology kit, observational drawing of Mary’s meal, dipping pen writing or drawing, coin rubbing, playing with period toys and games, looking at her belongs / sort them into categories.Further information on how workshops operate is found here.

More details about a character visit can be found here.

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