Programs & Events

Investigate: Saturday Science Lab

Have you seen fossils in the Museum? A paleontologist had to excavate, clean, and stabilize those fossils before they went on display! If you want to try being a paleontologist and wonder how long it takes to clean a fossil, join us for this virtual, hands-on experience. You will learn about fossil excavation without worrying about damaging ancient plant and animal remains. We’ll use common tools like a screwdriver to practice our paleontology preparation on “fossil” pottery. Participants will remove matrix surrounding a pottery “fossil” and reassemble the pieces. Museum paleontologist Shane Tucker will host two Zoom sessions to explain the preparation process, demonstrate techniques, provide guidance, and answer questions.

Program Dates: February 13 and 20 from 10:00-10:30 am CST

The cost to participate is $9/member and $11/non-member. If multiple people in your household wish to excavate and reassemble pottery “fossils,” you will need to purchase a registration for each person. Registration includes a supply kit, two Zoom sessions with our expert paleontologist, and other prizes for this special Dinosaurs and Disasters virtual event. There are a limited number of kits available, so order soon!


After you register, you will need to pick up the kit at the Morrill Hall Gift Shop (645 N. 14th Street, Lincoln, NE) prior to the first Zoom session. You can give your name to our Gift Shop staff to pick up your kit, and Museum admission is not required when visiting our Gift Shop. If you are not comfortable coming inside, give us a call at 402-472-0090 to arrange curbside pickup after ordering online. Once you pick up your kit and make sure you have the materials listed below, you are ready to join us for the first Zoom session.

In addition to the materials included in the kit, you will need to provide tools for excavation. You can excavate using tools you may already have around the house or purchase these items: small (approximately1/8” x 3”) flathead screwdriver (available at Menards for $1.98), toothbrush, paintbrush, small bowl of water, and superglue (to be used during second Zoom session). A 12-piece stainless steel wax carvers set (available on Amazon for $9.99) is optional, but useful.

Activity work will be completed on your own during and after these instructive sessions with our paleontologist. This activity is recommended for ages 10 and up. Parental supervision is advised since the tools and pottery have sharp edges. Estimated activity time 3-5 hours.

An email with zoom link for participation will be sent following receipt of payment. Questions on this program may be directed to