Our preparation and conservation laboratories support the research of faculty-curators, graduate students, research scientists, postdoctoral scholars, undergraduate honor's thesis students in the Museum of Paleontology (UMMP), and visiting scholars. They are vital for specimen-based data collection, teaching, public display, and dissemination of information, as well as for the long-term conservation of our fossil collections. In addition, the resources and functions of the laboratories provide important services for the missions of other units in partnership with the UMMP, such as the Departments of Anthropology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.
The preparation and conservation laboratories of the UMMP have diverse functions and are supervised by Dr. William Sanders. The preparation functions of the laboratories are directed by Dr. William Sanders, and the conservation functions are directed by Dr. Jennifer Bauer and Dr. Adam Rountrey. Students seeking to participate in fossil preparation and conservation projects should contact these individuals.
Visible Vertebrate Fossil Preparation Lab, BSB 1160A
The primary laboratory for preparation and replication of fossil vertebrates is located in the B Tower of the Biology Science Building (room 1160A). The laboratory is staffed by the Chief Preparator, undergraduate student assistants, and volunteers. It has large windows to allow public viewing of lab work, and capabilities for audio (headsets) and visual (cameras mounted on and above microscopes) interaction with museum visitors. Functions of the laboratory include manual and mechanical preparation and micropreparation of fossils, consolidation of fossil specimens, removal of fossils from plaster field jackets, reconstruction of fossils, molding and casting of specimens, cast painting, and creation of storage cradles for delicate specimens. The laboratory is well equipped with a variety of preparation tools including air scribes, an air dent machine, and a variety of pin vises and needles. Each work station has a microscope and light box for detailed work. Consolidants and adhesives are archival, as are new materials for cradles. Safety of laboratory staff and fossils is aided by a state-of-the-art dust removal air handling system with movable snorkels, and maintenance of constant temperature and humidity.
Mechanical Fossil Preparation and Conservation Lab, RMC 1860
The main functions of this laboratory are fossil preparation of larger specimens, construction of cradles, invertebrate fossil preparation, and conservation projects to repair and stabilize fossils. The laboratory is well equipped with a superior air handling system and snorkels for dust removal, compressed air connections for mechanical tools (including air scribes), microscopes and light boxes for detailed preparation, and an air dent box to collect abrasives. A major advantage of the location of the laboratory is its proximity to the fossil collections and offices of the Collections Coordinators of the UMMP at the Research Museums Center Building. The laboratory is staffed by the Chief Preparator, Collections Coordinators, undergraduate student assistants, and volunteers.
Chemical Fossil Preparation and Conservation Lab, RMC 1870
This laboratory is equipped with a superior air handling system and snorkels for dust and chemical vapor removal, as well as a fume hood and sink fitted with sediment traps for chemical preparation of fossils using acids. Safety equipment available includes rubber aprons, acid-resistant gloves, full-face shields, and a forced-air respirator. The laboratory also has hand-built, specialized centrifuges for epoxy casting of small specimens. Chemical storage cabinets are vented for safe management of flammable and caustic substances used in our work. Along with chemical preparation, the laboratory provides the means to undertake large-scale molding, and casting using resins and fiberglass. Collections staff can undertake major stabilization of fossils using solvent-based consolidants and adhesives in this lab. The laboratory is staffed by the Chief Preparator, Collections Coordinators, undergraduate student assistants, and volunteers.
Other Research Laboratories
For a list of laboratories, with descriptions of each lab, including equipment and links to the lab web pages: