Dr Martin Munt - Curator and General Manager My career as a museum palaeontologist began on the Isle of Wight working at the old Geological Museum above Sandown Library; 30 years on I am now Curator and General Manager of Dinosaur Isle Museum. Some of the intervening years have been spent working on the Island, at the Geological Museum or at Dinosaur Isle, where I was curator during the development and early years of operation of Dinosaur Isle. Part of my early career was spent at the University of Portsmouth where I worked in the Geology Department as the Palaeontology Technician. Whilst working at the University of Portsmouth I developed a research specialism in fossil gastropods, working with Dr Mike Barker, who in his day was one of the leading authorities on fossil molluscs. My research extended to include freshwater bivalves and included the first record of Asiatic bivalves in the European Cretaceous fossil record. The Jurassic-Cretaceous freshwater bivalve fauna of Britain and Spain has since become my main area of research. I returned to the Isle of Wight in 1996, leaving in 2008 to work at the Natural History Museum in London, initially as Collections Manager of Fossil Invertebrates, I became Head of Palaeobiolgy Collections, leading the staff caring for a collection of about 9 million objects from across the world. During my time there I developed mass documentation projects enabling electronic capture of collections information. Additionally, I led on the Palaeontology acquisitions strategy, leading to the museum acquiring many important specimens including the Stegosaurus now on display in the Earth Galleries. I gained substantial experience of the commercial side of Palaeontology having been a regular at major fossil fairs including the Munich and Tucson shows. I have extensive fieldwork experience, which outside of the UK includes China, Morocco, North America and Spain. I have a deep love of the Island and its geology; outside of my research specialism I have great interest in Chalk fossils, in particular ammonites and other cephalopods. Whilst I am a dedicated invertebrate specialist, I have considerable experience of vertebrate groups, principally dinosaurs, having had the privilege of visiting and working in some of the World’s most exciting dinosaur localities, including the Morrison Formation and the Kem Kem. My vision for the future of Dinosaur Isle Museum is for it and the Island to realise its potential as one of the greatest fossil localities in the world. Email me
Trevor Price - Community Learning Officer, Geologist, Website, Research Library My primary role is managing and enhancing all of the learning activities and aspects of the museum, both formal and informal. That applies across all age groups and abilities. Much of the work is focussed on the enormous schools programme, with several thousand formal education visitors of all ages and nationalities each year. However the youngest and oldest are not forgotten with pre-school and retired groups also being catered for. I run the popular field trip programme for the public, and have built up both the number of trips and the range of localities to the bustling annual programme we have today. I also have a role in promoting the Island’s geodiversity, having been involved with the 2004/5 Local Geodiversity Action Plan and then again chairing its first on-line version in 2010. In addition I attend regional geology forums to promote the Isle of Wight. The picture of me by the 'dozer' shows another aspect of my work related to excavations (both geological and palaeontological) on the Island. I run the museums website; and over the last few years have extensively rewritten it to improve its readability, content and bring it up to date. There is still some way to go yet but hope you find it of use. I am in the process of producing a pdf version of our 'Type and Figured Catalogue', which lists the important specimens in our museum that have appeared in research publications.I have a Geology/palaeontology degree and a Museum’s Masters degree (with a final dissertation on the display of fossils in English museums), and worked in the defence industry on multi-million pound contracts before working for the Isle of Wight Council. In that earlier career I worked in a design and research facility, including an environmental test unit, researched documents, helped produce a new library and finally ended up managing the design assurance and customer handover of major products running into millions of pounds.I produced our recent museum Emergency plan here at Dinosaur Isle; and am working with other museum staff on the Island to establish an Isle of Wight museum support group to provide advice and assistance in case of incidents that may put our collections, buildings and staff at risk.As one of the rare Islanders working here at the Museum I bring with me a large amount of local knowledge. My engineering background has proven useful in the fabrication of support stands for the displays, repairing the robotics and electronic interactives and writing the software for our new touch-screen display. Outside of work I am interested in most things mechanical, particularly four-wheel drive vehicles; and military history. I'm also a keen motorcyclist.I also ride a horse, and get out on our extensive network of bridleways whatever the weather. However, when the weather is good enough I also enjoy mountain biking, visiting country shows and walking in the countryside.Email me
Gary Blackwell - Part-time Interpretation AssistantI've been fascinated with dinosaurs and prehistoric life from the age of four; especially dinosaurs, vertebrate and arthropod evolution.After leaving school I worked as a marine fitter/engineer for many years on and off, along with various other jobs. After redundancy in 2003 I decided it was time to finally embark on a palaeontological career, deciding to also study for a degree with the Open University. As a four year old all I wanted to be was a palaeontologist so I thought why not, now I have the opportunity. I have a BSc degree in natural science which I studied through The Open University, after six years of enjoyable and rewarding study.I previously worked at Dinosaur Farm Museum for three years preparing and conserving fossils, leading field trips and talking to the public. Then in 2006 I applied for a job as Interpretation Assistant here at Dinosaur Isle Museum.My job involves leading field trips, providing talks and guided visits for schools and the public, and working with Trevor and Martin in designing and building new displays and providing interpretation for the fossils.I do most of the preparation and conservation work on the fossils of the Museum's collection (along with Martin) and have done extensive preparation and conservation work on the dinosaur specimens Eotyrannus and Neovenator (so far unique to the Isle of Wight). Along with working on pterosaurs, Hypsilophodons, Iguanodons, crocodiles and many invertebrate fossils and plants I also enjoy building replicas of some of the dinosaurs and other creatures in the museum.Outside of work I am interested in biology in general, geology, ancient Egypt, the First and Second World Wars, and wild life and its conservation.
Penny Newbury - Part-time Community Learning AssistantI was born on the Isle of Wight and started collecting fossils here at the age of 4. I guess the reason I'm working here is that I've never grown up - the natural world still fills me with a sense of wonder and curiosity.I enjoy sharing this with school parties and all visitors - especially when I'm on the beach fossil hunting. I also do some work on displays and digging up dinosaurs. I sometimes work in the shop if I can remember how the till works.If I'm not here then I'm probably in my workshop cutting and polishing fossils; from this I try to learn more of the inside story of how they lived, died and were mineralized. I might also be walking, snorkelling or making bread.See you.
Steve Radforth - Part-time Community Learning AssistantSteve provides support for our school visitors, having previously worked as an A-level geology teacher in a secondary school for many years. Now semi-retired he also leads some of our public fossil walks and has a wealth of experience to draw on.
Alex Peaker - Part-time Community Learning Assistant Hello I'm Alex, I have had a strong passion for fossils from when I was a child, and although when younger I never managed to find many fossils for myself, I was still interested in them, and spent a lot of my time on the beaches or in local museums at least looking at them.In 2009 I graduated from the University of Southampton having studied for a degree in geology, and joined the team at Dinosaur Isle to fulfil my passion for rocks and fossils. I work leading fossil walks, taking school groups and giving talks. Sometimes I work on the tills. I try to help people in their quest to find fossils at all time and welcome any questions on fossils and how to find them.In the near future I intend on increasing my knowledge of palaeontology by returning to university for further education.
Sue Wilkins - Retail SupervisorHi, I’m Sue Wilkins and I look after the shop, reception area and the staff who work there. I am also unofficial agony aunt and custodian of the agony chair. I have been employed here since Dinosaur Isle opened in August 2001.I moved to the Island in 1995 from Buckinghamshire with my family – 3 daughters, 3 cats, a dog and 2 budgies. This has grown by 2 more dogs and 2 horses - perhaps I should have been a zoo keeper! I enjoy walking on the beach, reading and gardening.I enjoy working here. The dinosaurs are all friendly – and even the staff smile sometimes. I am usually involved in the non-technical projects of the museum - Sandown's annual carnival, Santa's grotto etc. I also update the shop pages of the web site.As part of my job involves ordering shop stock, I can indulge in retail therapy while at work.Email me
June Whitlock - Full-time Retail AssistantHi, I'm June; I have been working here since November 2006. I'm probably the first person you will see on your arrival. I enjoy working in the reception/ gift shop and meeting different people. Since working here I have learnt a lot more about dinosaurs, fossils and geology in general. Before moving to the Island I helped at a local playgroup, which I enjoyed. After I moved here I helped as a parent helper at the local primary school.I'm married, with two children - one child has flown the nest - the younger is at High School. Originally from Essex we decided to move to the Island in 1999 and haven't looked back since.At home we have our own dinosaur, Tommy the tortoise, who has been in the family for 43 years, and also a beagle/ jack russell dog who who only talks to me when its feeding time. I am the gardener at home and also like reading and walking. In closing I look forward to meeting you all soon.
Julie Harris - Part-time Retail AssistantHi! I'm Julie and I have been working in the shop/reception at Dinosaur Isle since January 2007. I mainly work Saturdays and the odd Sunday. I really enjoy working here, all the staff are great and of course the customers are too!I have lived on the Island for a long time but was bought up by Gatwick airport. My husband is from Liverpool which I guess makes me a scousewife? I have three daughters and one stepson. My stepson lives in Wigan, my eldest daughter is a student nurse and my middle daughter is studying childcare at college.At my youngest's school we once covered the topic 'Dinosaurs' and I was able to get plenty of inspiration from working here. We learnt a little about fossils, tried our hand at drawing them, then we were set the task of making a dinosaur related model. My daughter and I eventually produced a dinosaur poetry box. Some of the other parent's models were amazing.I have been out on a few of the fossil walks that are organized from the museum and can thoroughly recommend them. In the shop I am often asked if they are suitable for children. My youngest daughter was 4 when she went on her first walk and really enjoyed it. She took her finds to her teacher the next day with great pride!Last year I gave up running a toddler group in Sandown having been involved with it for 12 years. As my youngest began Middle School I decided it was time to move on. I am interested in animal welfare and am now helping out at a local RSPCA shop, but only during the museum's quieter months. I seem to have been assigned the book section as I have a love of books and everyone else seems to find it tedious.
I also like reading, walking, travelling and surfing the net. Recently I have found myself unable to stroll along the beach without scouring it. You never know what you might find!
Maxine Roach - Part-time Retail Assistant
Hi, I am Maxine, and I have worked in the shop since June 2015; making me the 'newbie' of the group!I am originally from Surrey, but fulfilled a long time dream to move here in 2014. Having spent 14 years working in a supermarket I find the shop and museum much less stressful and far more interesting.My hobbies include reading and cross-stitch, although I have 5 grandchildren that I love to spend time with.I have become very interested in fossils and am desperate to make a 'find' of my own.
Arron Swaffar - Part-time Retail AssistantBorn in 1990 and moved to The Isle of Wight aged one. Arron, inspired by the islands shorelines and forests developed a keen interest in documenting the surroundings via Film and Media.Continuing this interest Arron studied Media production at college and then graduated at the University of Winchester in 2012.Working freelance Arron directed the documentary “A Darker Shade of Wight” which explored the urban ruins and inside derelict places hidden on the island with the aim of bringing awareness to the vulnerability of some of the buildings that should be saved. The film is still available online, and as of 2015 Arron has joined the team at Dinosaur Isle working in the reception, all the while expanding knowledge of the islands geology and fossils; and continuing to document this mad little world.
Lora Apps - VolunteerHi, my name is Lora, I have had an interest in dinosaurs ever since I can remember, but being originally based in London most of my knowledge about them came from museum exhibitions and books. Moving to the Island in 1987 changed all that, walking on rocks of Cretaceous age and finding my own fossils. Finding my first small piece of dinosaur bone in a gully at Compton Bay was like striking gold.I became a laboratory volunteer in 1997 when the museum was located above Sandown Public Library. I am now the longest serving volunteer at Dinosaur Isle. On my first day I was shown what I thought was the most perfect little dinosaur skeleton ever; in need of a little TLC and repair, a job I was very proud to do, I was even prouder when the little Hypsilophodon was put on display at Dinosaur Isle.The best thing about Dinosaur Isle for me is the lab which is much more spacious than the old one, though we haven’t wasted time filling almost every available work space with new projects to work on. Whether it be cleaning and repairing new finds, making a full size replica of a T. rex skull or talking to people about the work we do, we are hopefully taking away some of the mystery of what goes on in museum laboratories behind the scenes.
Brian Lewis - former volunteerFollowing retirement to the Isle of Wight from commercial life in London, my lifelong interest in fossils was now to take on a practical situation among the storehouse of the Island.Time to read and study my finds bought me into contact with the experts at the Geology Museum and eventually to become a volunteer at Dinosaur Isle.My work in the laboratory involves general 'dogsbody'; involvement in sorting of fossils; and preparatory work. However the highlight of my days working is talking to the visitors; this aspect covers children and adults, novice and knowledgeable. Their enthusiasm and attention to the samples on show and the conversation is reward in itself.I am enjoying retirement with my wife, and have a deep love of palaeontology, however, chess, bowling and art also fills my spare time.
A.N. Other - VolunteerAwaiting text.
This picture was taken shortly after the museum opened in 2001. It shows the original team. Back row from left-to-right Dan Pemberton, Martin Munt, Trevor Price, Laura Smith and Steve Hutt. Front row from left-to-right Laura Sales, Sue Wilkins, Peter Pusey, Anne Yvonne-Baker and Lorna Steel.
About Dinosaur IsleMeet the TeamHow to get hereNature & Dinosaur Isle