Fossils are windows to the bygone years. They show what kinds of organism lived millions of years back. Whether they are fossils of a leaf, animal tooth, or skeleton of an insect, finding a fossil is thrilling. But to preserve fossils and keep them as historical pieces, it is important that proper fossil care should be put in place. Here are some ways to care for fossils.
- Clean fossils before storage. To make preservation easier, fossils should first be cleaned of dirt and residues. For fossils taken from a sea setting, salt should be removed by soaking the fossils in a solution of bleach and water. The solution should be extra mild to prevent fossil damages. To remove stubborn salt residues, gently brush the fossils until they are completely clean. Fossils made of clay materials can also be cleaned by mild brushing. Similarly, dabbing the fossils with a damp cloth is a good fossil cleaning technique.
- Fix broken parts. Because of old age, some fossils may be fragile and have broken and cracked parts. In this case, you may need to use glue to put the pieces together or strengthen weak areas. Fish skeleton, for instance, may have crumbly parts, so you need to brush or spray glue to make them intact. However, be careful when applying glue. And make sure to apply glue only to the parts that need to be glued to preserve the fossil's overall appearance.
- Keep your fossils in a box. Store your fossils in a box that will keep them from moist and dust. It should have compartments so that you can properly organize your fossils. You can use a jewelry box, thread box, or embroidery box. If you prefer, you can also make your own fossil box out of hardwood. Stain or paint it and keep it in a dry, well-ventilated area. But should you want to display your fossils, you can choose to place them in a glass cabinet.
- Make labels. Label your fossils for easy reference. The label should include the type of organism, fossil material, where and when it was retrieved, possible age, and other related information. You can also put a photograph of the fossil before it is chipped off from the location. When you decide to label your fossils, you may need to do some research to find out accurate information about the fossils, which includes the history of the location, what type of organisms lived in the location, and mineral components of the fossils. It may prove to be a lot of work, but it is worthwhile.
- Regularly remove dust. Dust will accumulate on the fossils overtime, so always clean them using a soft brush or cloth. Be careful, though. Do not put unnecessary pressure on the fossils especially on those that are too delicate. Remember to be very gentle when touching the fossils.
Collecting fossils is an extraordinary hobby. Not only will you be able to keep impressive pieces, you also can have an idea what the Earth was like millions of years ago. And that can ignite a better appreciation to the Earth and life in general.