Non-vertebrate paleontology collections
at the Texas Natural Science Center

Cleaning the fossils

Most of the specimens have been stored in a dust filled environment for many years, and are badly in need of cleaning.

Removing the dirt from labels reveals fascinating history

Before cleaning

. . . and after

the dust layers mask the suture patterns the sutures really stand out when the dirt is removed
The process begins with a gentle cleaning of the specimen itself. there is a series of operations, first the cleaning of the fossil
the clean fossil is placed in a foam lined tray Essential tools include a dust mask, gloves, a soft brush, and a special vacuum cleaner with a very fine filter.
Labels are also cleaned . . . next the labels are cleaned
labels are bagged to exclude insects and then placed inside ziploc bags to keep them clean, and prevent further attack by silverfish.
Additional labels record the date on which the specimen was cleaned and transferred to its new location. a written record of the process is kept with the original labels
"Check the computer if you forget the next step." Instructions on complex procedures can be checked on a nearby computer.