Conserving and preparing geological and palaeontological material at the Natural History Museum, London.

After completeing his undergraduate degree Nigel worked for five years as a Conservation Scientist in the Palaeontology Conservation Unit of The Natural History Museum, London. The two main projects that he was contracted to assist with were the conservation and redisplay of a large collection of scientifically and historically important Jurassic marine reptiles, and the preparation, conservation, mounting and installation of fossil material and casts for the new dinosaur gallery which opened in 1992. During this time he learnt a great deal about the conservation of natural history specimens and the care of museum collections. He also gained a Master of Science degree in Vertebrate Palaeontology at University College London.

In general his duties and responsibilities included:
  • Undertaking the preparation of fossil material for research and display using a combination of dental hand tools, airchisels, airabrasive units, vacublast, ultrasonic tanks, dental dills, and acid preparation including the acid transfer technique
  • Assessing and prioritising the remedial and preventive conservation needs of all types of palaeontological material
  • The replication of fossil and sub-fossil material in a variety of media for display and research
  • Mounting all sorts of fossil material for display
  • The installation of fossil and replica specimens into new exhibitions
  • Responding to emergency conservation needs
  • Assisting with site management, preparartion and conservation whilst on fieldwork
  • Writing risk assessments for activities undertaken in the laboratory
  • Providing conservation advice to staff of the Palaeontology Department and Exhibitions Department
  • Giving demonstrations and talks on conservation issues to visiting groups of students and the public
  • Taking environmental readings of display and collections areas and keeping records
  • Maintaining the Unit's photographic and written conservation records
  • Undertaking collections surveys, and
  • Assisting with enquiries from the public, including identification of specimens and answering conservation queries.
  • After completing his contracts and moving on to other projects Nigel was asked several times to return to work for the Natural History Museum in a freelance capacity on a variety of projects:
    to work as site manager for excavations abroad; to install robotic dinosaurs in Saudi Arabia; and to assist the Engineering Section of the Exhibitions & Education Department in the mounting and installation of geological material in the new "Earth Galleries" exhibition.
    Nigel continues to undertake freelance moulding, casting, and modelmaking for the Palaeontology Conservation Unit when required.

    For more details about what we can do for you, or for a quote, please contact:
    We are members of the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

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