Trailblazer: Archaeologist Mary Kitson Clark

From May to September 2024 Make it York/York Civic Trust will be producing a Tansy Beetle sculpture trail around York with each beetle representing itself and a lesser-known person or group who have contributed to the culture and heritage of York. The Tansy Beetle is almost unique to York and is found on Tansy plants near the river Ouse.

YPS has nominated archaeologist Mary Kitson Clark for a sculpture in Museum Gardens this summer.  Mary Kitson Clark was the first woman appointed as Curator of Roman Archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum in 1941.  She had applied to be the new Keeper of the Museum but YPS Council appointed ornithologist Mr Reginald Wagstaff, who had a background as a Museum Curator.  However Miss Kitson Clark was invited to join the YPS Council and also commissioned to write a report on the Roman Collections in the Museum.

YPS are exploring, alongside the sculpture trail, a Community Project looking at local memories of activities in the Museum Gardens and the Museum; including Mystery Plays and Peacocks.  To share any memories and photographs contact Catherine Brophy on

We will publish some of the research here on this blog.