Board of Trustees


Dorset Museum is owned by the members of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.

The members elect a Board of twelve Trustees who are responsible for the overall strategy of the Society and the management of its Museum.

Jean Lang DL - Chair

Jean is a lawyer and was for many years a solicitor with a Dorset firm. She is now a part time Tribunal Judge. Moving to Dorchester in 1981 she has been involved with many local organisations as Chair of the CAB, of St Osmund’s Middle School Governors and then of Thomas Hardye Governors. She has served on the Police Authority and as a Non-Executive Director of Poole Hospital. She is currently Deputy Chair of Bournemouth University and a Director/Trustee of Dorset Opera.

Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier FRSL is an author of historical fiction. She is best known for the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, and has written novels set in France, Switzerland, the United States, and Dorset – including Remarkable Creatures, about the fossil hunter Mary Anning. She is a Trustee of the British Library, an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust, a Patron of the Dorchester Literary Festival and the Lyme Regis Museum, and supports several charities. Tracy and her husband have had a long association with Dorset, and divide their time between London and a cottage in the Piddle Valley.

Elizabeth Selby

Prior to her time at Dorset Museum, Elizabeth was a curator at the Jewish Museum London for 10 years, where she worked on the Museum’s redevelopment between 2006-2010, and curated a number of successful temporary exhibitions. She has also worked at the Imperial War Museum London and King’s College London Archives. She has a background in modern European history.

David French

David is a Trustee of Weldmar Hospicecare, Chair of Governors at a local First School, a pension scheme Trustee and a mentor to three local businesses as part of Dorset Business Mentors.

David was a Director of Hall & Woodhouse until his retirement in 2018 where he was responsible for all aspects of the beer business including building the brewery in Blandford. David’s career background is in Marketing. He has lived in Dorset for over 23 years.

Sarah James

Originally Visual Arts trained, I have held director and senior management roles in internationally and nationally significant charitable arts, cultural organisations and social enterprises for the last 15 years. This has included heading up 2 large Learning and Participation departments, developing and delivering audience development and education strategies (for individual arts organisations as well as on a regional scale for Arts Council England and English Heritage), leading creative teams and producing high profile and quality artistic programming for museums, galleries, public realm and festivals. I have led on organisational change management processes, business planning, overseeing staff teams and HR, charity law, managing safeguarding and bring with me extensive fundraising experience.

I am the Director of a socially engaged arts organisation specialising in working in the field of arts and wellbeing called Creativity Works. This is an Arts Council National Portfolio organisation based in Bath and North East Somerset. I have until recently, just spent the last 3 years as CEO of Dorset’s Arts Development Company, a sector support organisation for the arts and culture sector. The last task I completed pre leaving was to write Dorset’s new 5- year Cultural Strategy which was approved by Dorset Council’s cabinet in May 2021.

Sian Merriott

Siân moved to Dorchester in 2001 and has been involved in a number of local institutions including Vice President of Dorset Law Society, Trustee of a local Nursery School and Governor of a Dorchester First School as well as serving as a Director of the Dorchester BID and being a member of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.  Siân is a qualified solicitor who worked for more than 25 years in residential conveyancing and family law. Siân is currently CEO of Relate Dorset & South Wiltshire.

Tracey Parsons

Tracey is an experienced litigation solicitor and mediator. She is a History graduate of the LSE and converted to Law. She started her career in London and has been involved in voluntary work for many years. This has included working on Management Committees for community groups in East London and in Dorset.

She has been on the governing board for a north Dorset secondary school for 14 years. Her role has included working on the Finance Committee, the Strategy Committee and chairing governor panel hearings. She is also a trustee of the Dorchester Child Contact Centre.

Tracey has lived in Dorset for 21 years and raised her 3 children here. She continues to practice law at a local firm and has strong community ties.

Jim Smyllie

After an early career in the arts, Jim spent twenty-five years in senior planning, strategy and management roles in the public sector and government, including ten years in the NHS.  The last years of his executive career were spent working in the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and then at Board level in Natural England, the national government advisory and delivery body for nature. More recently Jim was a Lay Member of the Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group in the NHS, and chaired one of the National Trust’s Regional Advisory Boards.  He is a Trustee of the Landscape Institute and for many years has led a charity working in Zambia.  Jim lives in the Bride Valley in west Dorset.

Sarah Welton

A marine biologist and educator, Sarah Welton has worked locally for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, nationally for the Marine Conservation Society and internationally on marine education projects in the Bahamas, Malaysia, Mauritius and Seychelles.  She was a Poole Harbour Commissioner for 10 years and a Rescue Officer in  the Lulworth Coastguard Team for over 30 years

Sarah wrote the Education Strategy for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site among many freelance projects on the Dorset Coast and further afield. She is a Trustee of the Dorset Environmental Records Centre and has served as Church Warden in Bere Regis for many years.   Hobbies include choral singing (committee member and Chairman of various choirs), gardening and enjoying the  Dorset Countryside.

Morag Wood

Morag Wood is a culture and communications specialist, with wide-ranging experience in the arts, science, business and charity sectors. She has worked for organisations such as the Natural History Museum, the London Development Agency and the Millennium Commission. She has been a consultant for nearly two decades where she has worked with a range of organisations leading on projects for The National Lottery, the Olympic Lottery Distributor, the recently opened Museum of Making in Derby and the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, to name but a few. In addition, she is the founder-director of the Culture Communications Collective an organisation that combines experience and expertise to deliver projects and campaigns for the culture and heritage sectors. She is also Chair of the Cultural Compact for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Shane Bartlett

I am married to Tracey and have two daughters both of whom have attended local schools, both of which I attended myself as a child. I have always been fortunate to work locally and have been employed in the dental industry since leaving full-time education. I was born in and have lived in Wimborne Minster all of my life. It is a town that I love and have a deep affection for and consider myself fortunate to be living in such a beautiful town with a varied and wonderfully outstanding surrounding countryside.

I have been involved with fundraising for several charities over the years, most recently due to personal circumstances, these have been for cancer (breast cancer in particular) and combat stress.

I have many hobbies and interests. Unfortunately, there is never enough time to enjoy all of them, but they include model making, reading (especially history which is a passion of mine) and nature watching with my girls in the already aforementioned beautiful landscape in which we are lucky enough to reside.