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A dinosaur of a Creative Competition entry!

October 22nd, 2010

Joanne Schmidt’s Heritage Centre, based in her home town of Lyme Regis, is the perfect miniature celebration of the beautiful Jurassic Coast.  From the tiny rock samples and fossils, to the genuine Blue Lias clay on the Wellington boots, the attention to detail is incredible.  You can almost smell the sea!  Here’s Joanne’s story.

I have been lucky to grow up on part of Britain’s coastline which now has World Heritage status – the Jurassic Coast.  I live near Lyme Regis, which is famous for its fossils and spent much of my childhood on Charmouth beach searching for fossils and other interesting stuff.  I still like to visit the fossil shops and visitor centres.  My creation is in honour of this wonderful part of Britain and my pleasure in living here.  The outside photographs have been taken on Monmouth beach in Lyme with its harbour, the Cobb in the background, and the fossil rich cliffs of Golden Cap in the far distance.

I started by choosing papers for the outside to replicate slates and Portland stone from which many of Dorset’s coastal buildings are made, including our lifeboat house and the Cobb wall.  Inside I have made floorboards and kept them bare, and chosen a wall colour to represent the Blue Lias clay in the cliffs.

The little building holds an overwhelming display of rocks, fossils, minerals, skeletons and shells.  Some have been purchased, others have been found on beaches and I have made things I could not find to scale, like the small geodes made from acrylic painted shrink plastic.  I made the bookshelf to display the books, some of which are real publications and others I have created about geology, flora, fauna, fossils or just pictures of the Jurassic Coast.


The map displayed on the long wall has been hand-rendered from a guide to show the coastline from the Exe estuary to Christchurch, and a timeline shows the various ages of rock in each part of the coast.  Some of the guide information has been mounted and interspersed with small rock samples.  The entrance has leaflets for visitors and information about boat trips and guided walks – sensible footwear only please!  The wellies have real Blue Lias clay from the Black Ven cliff on them.  Mary Anning put Lyme Regis on the map by finding the first Ichthyosaur so I have also included some information about her.  The Herring Gulls, moulded from modelling clay with stick legs, give this building a typical seaside feel.  I have created them doing what they do best, taking advantage of human untidiness and wastefulness.  The rubbish bin is rolled card topped with a spice jar lid.  Correction fluid made good bird poo on the roof!

I blanked out three windows to make more room for shelves and removed the double wooden doors and replaced with Perspex to give this old building a more contemporary feel for its new role as a Jurassic Coast Visitors Heritage Centre.

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2 Comments to “A dinosaur of a Creative Competition entry!”


  1. so many lovely entries but the detai lin this superp.


  2. i use the spice lid jars they made my clocks for the village hall.

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