In the first of a series of HCST partner profiles, we put the spotlight on Steve Plater and Dinostar. Don’t forget – one child is admitted free to Dinostar if an accompanying adult shows their HCST membership card!
Dinostar is Yorkshire’s only dinosaur museum. It has held the VisitEngland VAQAS award for Quality Visitor Attractions for six years. Dinostar moved into its building on Humber Street – a disused fruit warehouse – in December 2003. Older members may recall the building being the home of Roberts and Almond fruit merchants opposite the now-demolished Heritage pub.
Refurbishment took five months of hard work leading up to the museum opening to the public on Sunday 11th May 2004 (just as Hull City left the bottom division!). The official opening, by Tony Robinson (of Time Team and Blackadder fame), took place in June 2004. Dinostar was the first of the new businesses to open on Humber Street in the long drawn-out regeneration of Hull’s Fruit Market area. With more warehouses currently being refurbished for use the area is about to burst into life – something Dinostar has waited 12 years for! As City fans know, patience is a virtue!
Throughout its life, the Dinostar exhibition has been updated and expanded. Major changes have been the creation of the Dinosaur Dig area in 2007, the construction of the “Raptors Run” exhibit (illustrating the link between dinosaurs and birds) in 2009 and the acquisition of models from the Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Beasts TV series in 2013.
Although the museum is targeted at children, there are plenty of fascinating exhibits for older enthusiasts. A major recent addition is a replica skeleton of Lucy, an Australopithicus, a link between apes and humans. One of the smallest but most intriguing exhibits is a rare piece of genuine fossilised dinosaur skin. Although it doesn’t give an indication of colour, this fossil does have a distinctive “scaly” pattern.
Alongside the museum, Dinostar offers Dinosaur Workshops in schools. This was originally a means of publicising the museum but it has developed into a major part of the business. Workshops have taken place in schools as far apart as Greenock in Scotland and Folkestone in Kent. It is satisfying that many schools have been visited a number of times over the years – clearly satisfied customers! As well as schools, Dinostar has also taken part in dinosaur events at Eureka: The Museum of Children in Halifax, Techniquest in Cardiff and The Deep. Next Easter there will be Dinostar workshops in Edinburgh as part of that city’s Science Festival.
Dinostar is the brain-child of Steve Plater, a life-long Hull City supporter and long-time member of the Tigers’ Cooperative. His father is Alan Plater, the late playwright responsible for the play Confessions of a City Supporter as well as over 300 works for television, film and radio. Steve’s first match was the historic Watney Cup match against Manchester United in 1970 accompanied by his mum and dad, a couple of grandfathers and an aunt. It was many years before the heights of Terry Neill’s early seventies’ team were reached again. His supporting highlight, apart from the Watney Cup match, must be the Wembley play-off final – as Burnsy’s legendary commentary says, “…it’s alright now, you’re allowed to cry”. Although he wasn’t able to attend the game, Steve’s father was at least able to see City reach the top division before his death in 2010.
Nowadays Steve is part of the Tigerfusion commentary team which broadcasts to blind and partially-sighted supporters in the stadium. He was introduced to this by another member of the team, his father-in-law Jim Mouer, when commentary was also provided to Hospital Radio. The hospital link ended with the move to the KC Stadium but the team continues to provide a valuable facility to fans.