Chaos to Convention

Burpee Museum has had a whirlwind past three weeks.

In the last three weeks the museum, in conjunction with the museums in the Riverfront Museum Park and other Rockford museums, hosted the Illinois Alliance of Museums conference from October 22-24.

Burpee Museum also hosted a very successful Night Sounds event for families on the evening of October 24, 2014.

Scott Williams, Director of Science & Exhibits, also headed to Kemmerer, Wyoming to pick up
Green River fossil specimens to be prepped for the upcoming Fossil Lake exhibit.


This, however, was all leading up to #SVP2014 in Berlin, Germany. Four members of the Burpee Staff are attending the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting. The museum is presenting two posters, and several additional presentations are utilizing Burpee specimens as part of their datasets or research questions. It is quite an honor for a museum of Burpee Museum’s size to be so well represented at a professional conference.

If you are interested in following along with hot topics being discussed at the meeting look for #SVP2014 on social media, or follow Brian Switek, author of the National Geographic Phenomenon: Laelops blog or check out Dr. Thomas Holtz’s Twitter feed at @TomHoltzPaleo.

A Stone Aquarium

So, how does one go about making a stone aquarium? Let me tell you:

First, you go to Kemmerer, WY and excavate some fossil fish … lots and lots of fish.

Fossil Fish Excavation: Kemmerer, WY, August 2011

Then, the fossils are prepared in the lab. (By great preparators none the less. Great work Mel, Steve, Michelle, Anna, Margo and Jenny!)

A fully prepped Prisci

Now comes the fun part, choose the specimens to go on display!

Laying out specimens and deciding who will debut in the exhibit.

And then the tricky bit: custom backings and mounts for each and every specimen. (Many, many thanks Cory!)

Starting the mounting process …

Custom backs, mounts, and screws …

… insert the appropriate fish

… and make mounts for all the specimens!

Throw in some cases, signage, and lighting ….. and then POOF! you have a stone aquarium!


“Tertiary Treasure Trove: Adventures in the Green River” opens tomorrow (November 10th, 2012) at the Burpee Museum.This exhibit is <just> a sneak-peek of a larger, permanent exhibit we plan to open in the fall of 2013 about the flora and fauna of the Green River formation. We hope you’ll take the time to stop by and check out our newest addition sometime soon!