First Faculty Mentor

Dr. Laura Wilson

Department

Geosciences

Award

1st Non-Empirical Graduate

Classification

Graduate Student

Description

Fossil preservation is exhaustive, meticulous, and demands knowledgeable specialists. In small museums, preparation staff can often be limited by the absence of tools, funds, and experience. This case study highlights the development and field-testing of preparatory resources to train students at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The Sternberg Museum has a backlog of fossils requiring preparation and a need for volunteers trained in fossil preparation, making it an ideal location. Over the course of four two-hour sessions, students learned techniques for assessing fossils and matrix, how to determine the appropriate tools, proper use of materials and tools, and molding and casting techniques. Qualitative assessments were based on final prepared specimens, knowledge of methods, and a final self-assessment. The course successfully trained volunteers and allowed for greater engagement with the public by consistently populating the preparation laboratory.

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FOSSIL PREPARATION IN A SMALL LAB: A CASE STUDY OF PREPARATOR TRAINING?AT THE STERNBERG MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY IN HAYS, KANSAS

Fossil preservation is exhaustive, meticulous, and demands knowledgeable specialists. In small museums, preparation staff can often be limited by the absence of tools, funds, and experience. This case study highlights the development and field-testing of preparatory resources to train students at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The Sternberg Museum has a backlog of fossils requiring preparation and a need for volunteers trained in fossil preparation, making it an ideal location. Over the course of four two-hour sessions, students learned techniques for assessing fossils and matrix, how to determine the appropriate tools, proper use of materials and tools, and molding and casting techniques. Qualitative assessments were based on final prepared specimens, knowledge of methods, and a final self-assessment. The course successfully trained volunteers and allowed for greater engagement with the public by consistently populating the preparation laboratory.