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Fossil Preparator Volunteer Position
Position Summary: Fossil Preparators prepare fossil material using techniques learned through the mandatory training class. This includes matrix removal using manual and mechanical means, fossil consolidation, and fossil repair. Vertebrate fossils collected in the field often require much cleaning and stabilization prior to being able to be handled for research or used for public exhibition. Fossil preparation involves considerable detail work using fine tools, often under a magnifying lens or microscope. Some tools used are vibration based and are very noisy. Specimens are often broken into many small fragments which need to be carefully pieced back together. There is limited exposure to dust and to chemicals used in consolidants and adhesives during preparation. Training and safety gear are provided.
Skills and Abilities:
- An interest in hands on paleontology
- Willingness to learn, does not require previous experience
- Considerable attention to detail
- High manual dexterity
- Ability to sit or stand for extended periods of time
Training required: All volunteers are required to attend one 4 hour basic volunteer orientation training. Fossil Preparator volunteers must attend the 12 hour training course on basic fossil preparation techniques held for 4 consecutive weeks. Following the training course, new fossil preparators will complete a 20 hour practicum. For the practicum preparators will complete an independent fossil preparation project under close supervision. Because these skills are picked up more easily by some people than others, it is not guaranteed that trainees will be asked to continue working as preparators following the practicum. Staff may choose to seek your assistance for other work in the collections.
The NHMU Orientation training sessions are offered monthly. Volunteers can choose either time to attend:
- Saturday, April 14th from 8:30am -12:30pm
- Mid May, date and time still to be determined
Two Fossil Preparator training sessions will be held. Choose either the Saturday session or the Wednesday session. All four classes of the session are required.
- Saturdays: April 21, 28, May 5, 12th from 10:00am-1:00pm
- Wednesdays: April 18, 25, May 2, 9th from 2:00-5:00pm
Schedule and shifts available:
Volunteer time following training and practicum is flexible and may be done at any time the Museum is open.
At least 8 hours every two weeks for a minimum of six months.
18 years minimum
$50.00 fee for Fossil Preparator training and practicum. Fee is waived for students will valid ID.