Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center, Photo: Colleen Curry

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wolf Skulls and Mounting Photos

This morning, Erica and I worked on gluing wolf teeth back into their skulls. The Yellowstone Wolf Project collects the skulls of all of the original and descendents of the original wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1996. Researchers remove teeth to extract DNA and to collect other infromation about the wolves' health and lives in the park. When they are not being studied by the wolf project, the wolf skulls are stored in the HRC and belong to the museum collection.

Erica and I used Fixodent Free (water soluble/no dyes) to reattach the teeth to their skulls. Most of the time, we had to attach only one or two teeth to each individual skull, but sometimes there were multiple teeth to reattach. In these cases, it seemed like putting together a puzzle as we had to use trial and error to figure out which teeth went where.

Before attaching tooth

After attaching tooth

After gluing in all the wolf teeth, Bridgette taught us how to mount photographs onto foam board for the exhibit. Basically, we cut pieces of foam board that are a little bigger than the photos. Then, between the photo and the foam board, we placed pieces on dry mount adhesive paper that were cut the same size as the photographs. We placed these into a dry mount press, which closes over the photograph, adhesive paper, and foam board and heats them at 250 degrees to attach the photo to the foam board. I finished this process for about five photos and will finish mounting my photos tomorrow.

Dry mount press

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