Fossil Wash Day at HMNS Sugar Land


September 27, 2019
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Once a year, HMNS Sugar Land turns into a playground for young paleontologists, or those who simply wish to get their hands dirty. Saturday, September 21, various areas were setup for original fossil picking, washing and crafts. If you were unable to see the festivities yourself, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Museum guests sport their dino tail hats.

Fun-filled activities were spread throughout the Sugar Land campus. The butterfly garden was the first stop for washing, picking and slinging fossils brought in from the HMNS go-to dig site in Seymour, Texas. Curator of paleontology, David Temple, and museum volunteers were teaching youth about the process of discovering and preparing fossils in a hands-on (and sometimes dirty) way.

A museum employee shares technique in fossil washing.
A volunteer explains how to wash fossils.

The first floor of the building was dedicated to crafts. The young women of the Fort Bend Teen Service League welcomed guests at each stop as they were given their very own dinosaur name, created a dinosaur tail hat, colored a T. rex and got their faces painted.

Face painter paints the face of a young museum visitor.
A young visitor sits patiently while her face is painted.

On the second floor, the Paleo Prep Lab sat in its usual corner, but took center stage as museum volunteers teamed up with the SciTeens to explain more detailed fossil work.

A young science enthusiast uses a tooth brush to clear a fossil of debris.
A young science enthusiast carefully studies a fossil with a toothbrush.

The conference room on the third floor held tables for more fossil picking. Pans of dirt held tiny fragments which kids could view through a microscope and use tweezers to pick the findings from surrounding debris. Volunteers from the Cinco Ranch Science National Honor Society were there to help facilitate.

Family looks under a magnifying glass to expose details of a fossil.
Family takes a closer look to learn the details of a fossil.

There was much fun, and bits of knowledge, to be had and we cannot wait for bigger and better festivities at Fossil Wash next year! The Paleo Prep Lab volunteers will give you an up-close look into how fossils go from dirt-covered to display ready. Keep an eye on the website for the updated Prep Lab schedule.

Paleontologist shares a close up look at a fossil field jacket.
A fossil field jacket is used in a live demonstration.

The HMNS Sugar Land location is open Thursday through Sunday during the Fall season.

Authored By Jilliane Johnson

Jilliane began her HMNS career in Visitor Services, greeting and assisting guests on a daily. Now as a full-time member of Marketing, Jilliane educates visitors and viewers of the various stories and storytellers within the walls. When Jilliane isn't writing, you can find her gaming, spending time with friends and family or watching trashy TV dating shows.

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