Meet the Team
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 Palaeobiology 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.
Curatorial & Education Team
Trevor Price - Community Learning Officer
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'm a member of the Isle of Wight Cultural Education Partnership working with other organisations and schools to encourage greater participation in the Island's special historic and current wealth of cultural heritage. We are also part of the Independent Arts led project 'Time and Tide' to encourage greater participation in events and activities by the older residents on the Island.
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.
Simon Penn - Preparator and Interpretation Assistant
I have been fascinated by fossils and prehistoric environments since I was about 6 years old. I was inspired by several childhood holidays to the Jurassic Coast and became hooked on fossil collecting when I started finding Jurassic fossils near my home in Buckinghamshire.
In 2013, I graduated from the University of Portsmouth as a palaeontologist; following this, I moved to Dorset to teach geology and palaeontology .
In 2018 I started a part time PhD programme back at the University of Portsmouth. Now I am both studying fossils and preparing them for museum display and research.
Alex Peaker - 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.
Steve Radforth - Part-time Community Learning Assistant
Steve 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.
Martyn Hornett - Volunteer
I recently retired as a logistics manager with over 30 years experience in senior management and leadership roles in both the military and commercial spheres.
I have has a life-long passion for palaeontology and first began collecting fossils as a child from chalk quarries near my home in Hampshire. This led to me undertaking a BSC(Hons) degree in Geology at Southampton University in the 1970's.
Since retiring I have become a regular volunteer at the museum and therefore finally able to use some of the knowledge I gained from my degree.
Sue Wilkins - Retail Mnager
Hi, 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. Every time I look out of my office window at the view across the bay I am reminded of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.
I enjoy working at the museum. The dinosaurs are all friendly – and even the staff smile most of the time
As part of my job involves ordering shop stock, I can indulge in retail therapy while at work.
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.
Jack Wonfor - Part-time Retail Assistant
As we were
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.