Dinosaurs and Doodles

Google Doodle honoring Mary Anning's 215th birthday. Google.com.

Google Doodle honoring Mary Anning’s 215th birthday. Google.com.

If you find yourself on Google’s homepage today, you will likely run into a Google Doodle featuring a little-known 19th century Englishwoman named Mary Anning. Born in 1799, Anning was barred by her gender and social class from access to Britain’s community of leading scientists and palaeontologists, yet nonetheless she slowly became known in scientific circles throughout Europe and the United States. Anning’s discoveries include the first icthyosaur to come to scientific attention in England, as well as a partial skeleton of an unknown marine reptile that would later earn the title of plesiosaurus. The Google Doodle celebrates her 215th birthday and helps to give Anning the credit and attention that she so richly deserves, even centuries after her death.

There aren’t many connections between a 19th century female English palaeontologist and Cranbrook, but the timing of her 215th birthday is an ideal opportunity to mention Cranbrook Institute of Science’s current special exhibition Dinosaurs – The Lost World. Featuring more than fifty full-scale dinosaur skeletons and skeleton casts, Dinosaurs tells a story of prehistoric life that would not have been possible without the contributions of early amateur palaeontologists like Mary Anning. The exhibition closes on June 29, so be sure to visit and get a glimpse into the world that Mary and her colleagues discovered!

 

Photo Friday: Brookside at Play

Brookside students enjoy the Cranbrook fire engine, 1936. Richard G. Askew/Cranbrook Archives.

Brookside students enjoy the Cranbrook fire engine, 1936. Richard G. Askew/Cranbrook Archives.

Brookside students know how to multitask—while enjoying playtime, they’re also learning the ins and outs of fire safety.  This photo, taken in 1936, shows Brookside students enjoying playtime on the Cranbrook fire engine. Especially endearing are the rubber galoshes; whether the children are wearing them to fight a fire or jump in puddles, they’re prepared for anything.

Photo Friday: En Plein Air(tarium)*

Students sketch the partially-completed McMath Planetarium at CIS. June, 1955. Harvey Croze/Cranbrook Archives.

Students sketch the partially completed McMath Planetarium at CIS. June, 1955. Harvey Croze/Cranbrook Archives.

As the McMath Planetarium went up at the Cranbrook Institute of Science over the course of the summer of 1955, students took the opportunity to work on their outdoor sketching. Here a young woman captures the newly constructed dome still clad in scaffolding. Note the sign to the left of the planetarium: it reads “Michigan’s First Public Planetarium.”

* “En plein air” is an expression that refers to the practice of painting outdoors – or “in the open air” – which was popularized by Impressionist painters, many of whom made the use of natural light a hallmark of their work. We apologize for the corny “en plein air”/”planetarium” joke, but we just couldn’t resist.

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