Fossils break. It happens. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try and prevent breaks in the first place. One new way we are doing this at the museum is to make custom housing for specimens known as cavity mounts. These easy-to-make storage containers are an ideal way to house fossils.
Each mount is made from Ethafoam, polyester batting, and Tyvek, all of which are archival materials. These materials won’t harm the fossil and can stand the test of time. Since each cavity mount is custom-made, they can be cut into a variety of shapes to ensure that the fossils stored in them are kept stable, aren’t putting weight on delicate structures, and won’t roll around when moved. The soft polyester batting and Tyvek lining provide support for fragile fossils and work to catch any fragments that happen to fall off.
Cavity mounts work great for researchers, too. They provide a secure way to handle fossils and a safe place to put them while taking measurements or making observations. Yes, making cavity mounts may take some time to build, but this step may be one of the most important steps in preserving fossils for future generations.
—Gabriel Santos, Collections Manager