Mary Anning - Blog post (2)

The Mary Anning maquette has arrived in Derbyshire as part of a national museum tour around the country.

Mary Anning was a pioneering English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who lived in the early 19th century. She made numerous significant discoveries in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis in Dorset, England. Anning's findings played a crucial role in the early development of palaeontology, helping to reshape the scientific understanding of prehistoric life. Despite facing gender and class barriers in the male-dominated scientific community of her time, Anning's contributions to the field are now widely recognised and celebrated.

In May 2022, the unveiling of a statue honouring Mary Anning took place in her hometown, Lyme Regis, following a successful crowdfunding campaign known as Mary Anning Rocks, initiated by local girl Evie Swire. This accomplishment serves as a tangible tribute to an extraordinary woman, a pioneer in fossil hunting, whose legacy is deeply intertwined with the town's history.

With special thanks to the Geological Association and Mary Anning Rocks, the National Stone Centre in Wirksworth, Derbyshire currently hosts the Mary Anning statue maquette as part of a free exhibition celebrating the influential historical figure. Visitors can expect to see a variety of fossils, replicas and interactive elements that encompass Mary Anning’s story. Running alongside the exhibition will be a range of related activities for children to get involved in. 

Anna Farnsworth is the Centre Manager of the National Stone Centre. Anna says:
“As a non-museum site, we feel very honoured to be hosting the maquette at the NSC as part of the ongoing nationwide tour. Our exhibition has already attracted a lot of attention from both locals and visitors to the Derbyshire Dales. We look forward to welcoming people over the coming weeks, to immerse themselves in the Mary Anning story.” 

Spanning over three months, the free exhibition will run from Saturday 4th May to Wednesday 31st July and is open to the public seven days a week.