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Job Description: Mastodon Fossil Preparator

Status: Full-Time, Temporary (4 months, in person)
Department: Education

General Statement of Duties

Prepare and preserve mastodon fossils in a paleontology preparation laboratory in the Education Department of the Virginia Living Museum. This position is responsible for preparation, preservation, molding, casting, and restoration of vertebrate fossils. In conjunction with the Museum, train students and volunteers, and participate in public programs. This position reports directly to the VLM Education Collections Manager.


  • A Master’s degree or bachelor’s degree in geology, biology, or other relevant discipline. 
  • Two years of fossil preparation experience in an established laboratory.
  • Knowledge of new methods and materials used in preparation and conservation of vertebrate fossils in order to keep current with (and contribute to) these components of the science.
  • Experience with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Preparators Symposium and/or related workshops a plus.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Utilize the Museum’s initial plan of preservation to prepare mastodon fossils for display.
  • Prepare, conserve and restore specimens in support of a future mastodon exhibit at the Museum. 
  • Make molds, casting reproductions, 3D scan of specimens for exhibit and education programs.
  • Maintain the effective operation of the preparation laboratory as a healthy and safe environment.
  • Train and supervise students and volunteers in the VLM preparation laboratory.
  • Assist Vertebrate Paleontology Curators in reports and writing grants for collection and preparation laboratory improvements.

Essential Job Requirements

  • Ability to work weekends & occasional evenings.
  • Must be able to express or exchange ideas by means of the spoken, written word and perceive detailed information through oral communication as well as have the ability to make the discriminations in sound.
  • Must be physically capable of meeting the demands of the position including standing and/or walking through the museum, or outdoors for up to two hours at a time.
  • Must be able to maintain focus in a distracting environment with continuous interruptions.
  • Physical requirements include medium work, exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 30 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
  • The position is subject to environmental conditions for activities occurring indoors and outdoors.

Supervision Exercised: No direct supervision, collaborate with Collections Manager.

This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by this employee. The position will be required to follow any other instructions and to perform any other related duties as assigned by the appropriate Supervisor/Director. The Virginia Living Museum reserves the right to update, revise or change the job description and related duties at any time.

Qualified applicants please submit a VLM application, cover letter, resume and references. No phone calls, please.