Our labs support the research programs of the curators in the Museum of Paleontology, and provides assistance to the Natural History Museum at the University of Michigan, the Department of Anthropology, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, research scientists, visiting scholars, and undergraduate honor's thesis students. They are vital for specimen-based data collection, teaching, public display, and the dissemination of information about the past, as well as critical for the long-term conservation of the fossil collections.
The museum has a number of laboratories, each for different purposes. The mechanical and chemical preparation labs are supervised by Dr. William Sanders. See below for the different labs:
Paleontology Mechanical Preparation Lab
he mechanical preparation lab is used primarily for the delicate work of removing fossils from the surrounding rock matrix. The functions of the lab include mechanical and manual preparation and micropreparation of fossils, consolidation of fossil material, removal of fossils from plaster field jackets, reconstruction of fossils, molding of fossil specimens, cast painting, and creation of storage cradles for fossils. We are well equipped with marker pens (small airscribes), pneumatic airscribes, and an air dent machine, as well as a wide variety of pin vises and needles. The lab has a good dust removal system and air handling system for maintenance of constant temperature and humidity. Our consolidants and adhesives are archival quality, as are our new materials for cradles.
The lab has the capability to accomplish major molding and casting projects, such as the casting of mastodon skeletons and large fossil whales, for research and display.
Paleontology Chemical Preparation Lab
The chemical preparation lab is equipped with a fume hood, large-scale open air hood, and work bench air removal vents, along with a sophisticated make-up air system, for work involving dangerous and noxious chemical procedures, such as acid reduction of fossil-bearing matrix and resin-and-fiberglass-based casting and mother-molding. Other equipment in the lab includes a rock-cutting saw and centrifuge for epoxy casting of small specimens. A large sink fitted with sediment traps and multiple water taps is capable of handling large-scale acid reduction projects. Chemical storage cabinets are vented for safe management of flammable and caustic substances used in our work.
Other Research Laboratories
For a list of laboratories, with descriptions of each lab, including equipment and links to the lab web pages: