The Jay & Barbara Paleo Lab

It takes a long time and a lot of patience for our fossils to go from the dig site, buried in the Earth, to being prepped for display and research. Burpee fossil preparators extract the remnants of ancient life from the stone matrix that has trapped them for millions of years.


The Process

Our paleontologists excavate fossils by cutting around the fossil and carefully bringing the fossil and its surrounding rock back to a museum. Discovering bones on a paleo dig is only the beginning of a long process.

The fossils we bring back to the lab can be extraordinarily fragile and are often encased in rock or a sandstone matrix that must be removed to reveal the information hidden within the specimen.

Thanks to the Jay and Barbra Brost laboratory, this work is accomplished inside Burpee Museum by vertebrate fossil preparators: skilled specialists in the care and conservation of fossil bone.

Science for All Programming

Burpee Museum of Natural History is working hard to bring high-quality science learning opportunities to ALL learners in our region through subsidized and free field trips, scholarships for camps and classes, and even internship programming.

We know that science education is essential for promoting the health and well-being of all children. Research shows the link between a child’s education and quality of life is not only through the income possibilities for that child but also the physical and mental health of the individual (Hudson, 2005 & Levin, 2006).

At Burpee Museum, we believe children in the region need greater access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) resources and supplies. With a discrepancy in resources, teacher expertise, and family support in math and science, there is a great need in our region.

Burpee is excited to take part in the movement to broaden access and diversity in science education. Education research has helped shed light on the reasons that students—and in particular women and ethnic minorities—abandon study and careers in STEM fields. Students abandon study due to perception of success, financial barriers, proximity to resources, lack of active engagement, and more.

Active engagement enhances learning for students of all demographics. Active learning occurs when students are engaged in thinking or problem-solving rather than listening passively to a lecture. Research has found beneficial effects of active learning on women and other underrepresented groups, likely due to a greater sense of belonging that can be achieved through active learning experiences. Active learning includes hands-on activities, field trips, lab activities, debates, research, and more. These activities are the core of Burpee Museum’s educational programming.

Burpee is working to increase access to science by breaking barriers for families, including financial obstacles. We need your help.

With your supportive gifts, we will be able to help children who would not be otherwise able to attend our field trips. With your supportive gifts, you can make science more available to all children.

Help ALL children gain access to great science experiences!


Join Us and Support Science!

We are excited to share some of the awesome things happening at Burpee!

Give us a call or email.

Contact Executive Director Anne directly:




Donate by Mail

To donate by check or to a specific cause, please mail donations to:

Burpee Museum of Natural History
737 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103

Donate by Phone

To donate by phone or to get assistance with your donation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 815-965-3433.

Tax Information

Burpee Museum of Natural History is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to the Burpee Museum of Natural History are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Burpee Museum of Natural History’s tax identification number is 36-2045414.



Jay & Barbra Brost
Robert Moore and Nancy Engelhardt-Moore
Janet Kjellstrom and the Kjellstrom Family Foundation
The Koch Family Foundation