We're all Stories in the End: Maisy the Ichthyosaur

'Baby' ichthyosaur from Wilmcote. | Image courtesy of Jon Radley
'Baby' ichthyosaur from Wilmcote.
Image courtesy of Jon Radley

The background

In April 2017 Heritage & Culture Warwickshire worked with The Play House and pupils from Westgate Primary to create tales inspired by objects on display at the Market Hall Museum.  Four classes from Westgate Primary came to the museum to work with Julie and Juliet. They used their imagination and created eight new fairy tales and legends, inspired by different objects in the museum.

Maisy the Ichthyosaur by Year 1

The children were inspired by the fossil ichthyosaur they can see in the Market Hall Museum and wondered what her life would have been like as a young ichthyosuar. Their tale about Maisy brings up right up to date, telling us how she came to be in the museum.

Several fossil ichthyosaur

There are several fossil ichthyosaur on display in the Market Hall Museum, including the ‘baby’ ichthyosaur you can touch.  We don’t know if our ‘baby’ itchyosaur was a girl or a boy though. They used to live in the tropical sea that covered Warwickshire during the Jurassic period. We even have a specially commissioned Lego Ichthyosaur. Both can be found in the Origins to Romans gallery on the first floor of the Market Hall museum.

Heritage & Culture Warwickshire would like to thank the children from Westgate Primary who created these stories. They are available to listen to at the Market Hall Museum, ask the staff or volunteers at the front door if you can borrow the Story Trail bag. All the objects are in the museum for you to see yourself.

The ‘We’re all Stories in the End’ project was made possible by funding from Arts Council England and with the support of the West Midlands Museum Development team.

Transcript:

Maisy the Ichthyosaur by Year 1

MAISY: Can you imagine what it was like in Warwick over 200 million years ago? Well, I can tell you that right here was a whole Jurassic scene spread far and wide and it’s here that I, Maisy the Ichthyosaur, was born. When I was little I used to go exploring with my brothers and sisters. We’d swim about looking at all the different creatures: small ones, round ones, spiky ones and even big ones that would scare us. We all lived together and swam about right where you’re standing now. When we were hungry we’d swim down to the bottom, dig our pointy noses into the seabed and pull out juicy morsels to eat.

BROTHER: This one’s wriggly!

MAISY: Mmmm, delicious!

BROTHER: Yummy, tasty treats.

It was all very tiring so after food a nap was often needed. We had lots of fun and sometimes we’d play games like ‘Hide and Seek’ and ‘I spy’, but my favourite was when we had a race.

BROTHER: I’m going to go fast

MAISY: Not as fast as me!”

BROTHER: Ready, steady, go! Zooom!

We’d fly through the water whirling and swirling until we reached the finish line.

ALL: Hooray!

Then off we’d swim back home where I’d find my favourite spot of mud on the seabed and  snuggle myself into it.

JONATHAN: Well, fancy all of Stockton being covered with water. I wonder if that was you we found that day when we were digging, Maisy…

MAISY: You found me when you were digging? What do you mean… and who are you?

JONATHAN: My name is Jonathan, and I was one of the workers at the quarry that. found the bones of the ichthyosaur only 100 years ago.

MAISY: Oooh, tell me more!

JONATHAN: Well, it all started when the boss came looking for workers for a dig.

BOSS: We need rocks to build a new road so we’re going to the quarry for dig. All who are with me say “Aye!”

WORKERS: Aye!

We put on our coats and boots and got our tools at the ready.

FOREMAN: Spades?

WORKER: Check!

FOREMAN: Hammers?

WORKER: Check!

FOREMAN: Pick?

WORKER: Check!

FOREMAN: And don’t forget your torches.

WORKERS: Check!

ALL: Right, let’s go!

At the quarry, we worked hard through the day, digging until the night came and then something hard hit my spade.

JONATHAN: Hey Pete, shine your torch over here, will you?

PETE: What’s that?

JONATHAN: We all shone our torches at the ground and began to dust away the dirt and there you were.

MAISY: What, me? At the bottom of the quarry?!

JONATHAN: Well, we didn’t know it was you at first. That’s why me and the team carefully lifted the bones from the earth and took them to the man at the Museum. He was very impressed.

ARCHAEOLOGIST: It’s an ICHTHYOSAUR! What a find! Well done, chaps!

MAISY: So, what happened next?

JONATHAN: Well, that was that. We left you there at the Museum and we all went to the pub for a pint of beer.

ALL: To the Ichthyosaur of Stockton!  Hey-hey

MAISY: And here I am in the Museum for all to see! Well, fancy that.

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