2011 Preparators' Grant Recipient
Matthew Brown is the Chief Preparator at the University of Texas at Austin Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory. He started his career in fossil preparation in high school as a volunteer at the University of Chicago in 1996. Working with his school’s administrative staff, he created an independent study program that allowed him to travel to the University every other day and receive science credits for his experience in the lab.
This position translated to employment in the lab, and upon graduation from high school he was hired by The Field Museum (FMNH) to help complete preparation and molding of the Tyrannosaurus rex SUE. He was then sent to Orlando to help staff, and later manage, the Disney Animal Kingdom Fossil Preparation Laboratory. After returning to Chicago, he continued working at the FMNH until 2006, when he was hired as head preparator at Petrified Forest National Park (PEFO), and in 2009 moved to Austin.
Over the past five years, Matthew has actively pursued interests in training and standards in fossil preparation. This includes serving as an instructor for the Smithsonian Institution FossiLab volunteer training program and developing a collaborative preparation training internship between California State University at San Bernardino and PEFO. He has also served as a member of the SVP Preparators Committee focusing on professional development, and in 2008 organized and hosted the first Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium at Petrified Forest.
The Preparators Grant funding will be used to support a writing workshop hosted at the University of Texas at Austin Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory. The goal of this workshop is to produce preparation standards documents and a curriculum for training and evaluating preparators that can be modified and adopted by other institutions.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Brown.