SHELF LIFE: UPDATING AND PRESERVING COLLECTIONS AT DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
The Quarry Exhibit Hall (QEH) formerly included the monument’s collections facility. After the 2006 condemnation of this building, DINO was forced to rapidly co-opt other spaces, such as storage sheds, to hold paleontological resources. These locations were not intended for specimen storage, and therefore lack proper insulation to protect the fossils from environmental hazards, such as rainwater and temperature fluctuations. Likewise, specimens were housed in outdated, disintegrating boxes, which do not properly secure fossils. The goal of rehousing specimens is to provide a stable, archival environment that simultaneously supports their weight, prevents them from moving, and allows for quick and easy identification by researchers.
Paleontology interns at the monument have utilized new methods in archival cradle making to stabilize specimens. Smaller items were rehoused in foam cavity cradles, made using a combination of ¼-inch polyethylene foam sheets, Tyvek, B-72 adhesive, and corrugated polypropylene; larger specimens were rehoused in plaster half-jackets, using Hydrocal, polyethylene foam blocks, felt, and fiberglass. The future of public and scientific engagement in paleontology at Dinosaur National Monument will greatly benefit from the protection, preservation, and ultimate rehousing of its paleontological resources.