From Petticoats to Microscopes at Manchester Museum

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
From Petticoats to Microscopes, courtesy of Manchester Museum, part of Wonder Women 2018
Courtesy of Manchester Museum

From Petticoats to Microscopes at Manchester Museum, Manchester 12 March 2018 Entrance is free

Manchester has been home to some incredible thinkers, activists, scientists and artists over the years, and is relatively good at celebrating them. But how much do you know about Marie Stopes, Margaret Murray or Adela Breton? Three pioneering ‘Wonder Women’ who helped shape Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester and, to some degree, the course of history.

In a talk delivered by Michelle Scott and Judith Fabian as part of Wonder Women 2018, From Petticoats to Microscopes will explore and champion the lives of these and other inspiring Manchester women, who either worked at the University, or whose collections have helped shape the Museum’s.

Marie Stopes (1880-1958) was an author and campaigner for women’s rights, who founded the first birth control clinic along with her second husband Humphrey Verdon Roe. She’s perhaps most famous for her 1918 publication ‘Married Love’, yet she began her career as a palaeobotanist working in Japan. Much of Stopes important collection is now housed at Manchester Museum, and illustrates the passion of this remarkable woman.

Margaret Murray (1863-1963) was an Anglo-Indian Egyptologist, archaeologist, anthropologist, historian, and folklorist, closely involved in the first-wave feminist movement. She became the first woman to be appointed as a lecturer in Archaeology in the United Kingdom, but is best known in Manchester for her lead role in the 1908 public unwrapping of Khnum-nakht – one of the famous mummies recovered from the Tomb of the Two Brothers. 110 years later and the mummy remains one of the crowning glories within Manchester Museum’s collection, where it sits on public display.

Adela Breton (1849-1923) was an English archaeological artist and explorer who eschewed marriage in favour of a life of travel. She is most famous for her work in Mexico, where she used her artistic skills to record friezes and carvings, most notably those of the Upper Temple of Jaguars at Chichen Itza. Breton is internationally recognised for her valuable contribution to Mesoamerican archaeology, and Manchester Museum now houses part of her archaeology collection.

Don’t miss this opportunity to find out more about the fascinating work and lives of these and other important Manchester women.

From Petticoats to Microscopes at Manchester Museum, Manchester 12 March 2018 Entrance is free

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