Since the Natural History Museum Ichthyosaur Travelling Exhibition, libraries across Dorset have been looking for more innovative ways to engage with the Jurassic Coast and a fantastic opportunity came up when Dorset Libraries decided to celebrate The Lost World Read 2009.
This nationwide event celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin with a mass-read of the classic adventure story The Lost World. The event is part of Darwin 200 – the worldwide celebrations of the life and work of the man who transformed the world with his theory of evolution by natural selection.
As part of the event, the Jurassic Coast Team ran a series of ‘Fossils Uncovered´ family workshops in libraries and museums along the Dorset coast. In addition to the family workshops, the team also gave two lectures at Ferndown and Weymouth libraries. Both talks were well attended and received excellent feedback.
The Family Workshops which were the highlight of the week, began with a reading from a special edition of the book The Lost World, designed for children and young people. The team helped the children to discover more about fossils through the now famous Jurassic Coast Fossil Dig. Other children had a chance to make their own slabs of fossils from playdough and broken pieces of pasta (that formed the bones of the skeletons!).
The feedback was excellent including “Children need something to do in the holidays. This is fun and educational and they are learning something important about their coastline”. The fact that Swanage library had children on a waiting list indicated that there is more opportunity to run these types of events – especially during half term.
Anjana Ford, World Heritage Education Coordinator