Museum opening hours: 9AM to 5PM. Mon-Sat. (Sundays 12-5pm in Summer)

Job Ad: Museum hiring 500hr contract preparator


Dickinson ND.

We are seeking a Fossil Preparator for a 500-hour contract position to work on assigned projects in the public viewing laboratory at Badlands Dinosaur Museum (Dickinson Museum Center, a department of the City of Dickinson, North Dakota).


The contractor shall principally perform fossil preparator services for two specific projects: preparing the postcranial skeleton of the 2021 Havre Lambeosaurus; and the preparation of postcranial bones from the “B2 tyrannosaur”. Other fossil preparation projects may be assigned to the Contractor during the term of the contract.

Preparation projects are expected to include (but are not limited to) working with hard concreted sandstone.

The contractor will be responsible for regularly documenting the work performed under this contract on a schedule and in a format and standard as outlined by Dr. Fowler.

The contractor will be employed for fossil preparation only (i.e. they will not be expected to engage in public outreach activities, nor supervise volunteers, etc.).


The Contract Preparator will be directly supervised by Dr. Fowler and / or Preparator Steven Clawson.  Overall management of the Museum Center, paid staff, volunteer staff and contract employees is the responsibility of Robert Fuhrman, Museum Center Director.


All preparator work will be performed in the public viewing laboratory at the Badlands Dinosaur Museum, Dickinson ND. Some or all work will be supervised by Curator Dr. Denver Fowler and / or Preparator Steven Clawson.

The contractor may be filmed cleaning fossils (for documentation of treatment and for use in exhibit & other media).

This contract position may typically require: climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, reaching, standing, walking, driving, pushing, pulling, lifting, grasping, talking, hearing, seeing, and repetitive motions. Exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 20 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.


The City of Dickinson will supply preparation tools and substances. This includes (but is not limited to) fine and heavy-duty air scribes (ARO, Chicago, Paleotools, ZOIC); chisels, hand picks, needles and brushes; a microscope; air abrasives; acetone-based consolidants; carbo-wax; epoxy resin adhesives and putty fillers.

The Contractor may employ personal preparation tools for his or her sole use, as arranged and agreed upon in consultation with Dr. Denver Fowler and/or Steven Clawson. The City will not be liable for any damage or wear and tear to said personal tools incurred during work covered by this Agreement.


There is no minimum academic qualification level for this position.

The contractor is expected to have the following knowledge, skills and abilities:

– Familiarity with basic and advanced preparation methods. (e.g., macro-preparation, micro-preparation).

– Strong attention to detail, patience, and fine motor skills; excellent hand-eye coordination.

– Knowledge of appropriate specimen handling and storage techniques.

– Knowledge of anatomy, especially of dinosaurs, and awareness of how and where to source appropriate information to aid in preparation.

– Sufficient prior skill-level and experience to work unassisted with scientifically important fossil material.

– Basic proficiency with Microsoft Office software.

Applicants are expected to be able to demonstrate expertise and experience as part of their application and during interview (see below, ‘how to apply’).


This is a grant-supported fixed-term contractor position.

The contractor is and shall be, in the performance of all work, services, and activities under this Agreement, an independent contractor and not an employee or agent of the City. 


The City of Dickinson will pay the contractor $20.00 per hour for up to 500 hours of preparator work. The City will pay the contractor in timely increments based on the City’s accounts payable schedule as approved by the Board of City Commissioners (Commission meetings are every 2 weeks).

There are no benefits or overtime for this position. The contractor will be issued with a 1099 form for income reporting purposes.


This limited-term contract terminates on August 1st 2023 by which date all 500 hours must have been completed.

The contractor will be expected to work in the preparation laboratory during normal museum operating hours. There is no overtime. As a contractor position there are no lower or upper limits on the number of hours worked per week. Start-date is negotiable and will be determined in consultation with Dr. Fowler and Preparator Steven Clawson.


The contractor must be legally eligible to work in the United States.


Your application should comprise a 1-2 page cover letter, a resume or CV, names and addresses of 2-3 references, and an annotated portfolio of previous preparation projects.

In your application please specifically include your experience in fossil preparation, your expected availability, and expected dates between which you would complete the 500 hours (given the potentially variable hours worked).

Please email your application package to:

Please include a portfolio of examples of your work. This should comprise 4-10 photographs of previous preparation projects with a short written description of each photo detailing the specimen concerned, the tools used, and any other noteworthy information (difficulty, matrix type, etc.). The portfolio can be submitted in any format (e.g. PDF, DOC with embedded images), but would preferably be a numbered series of full resolution JPGs with a separate DOC file with captions. Large files should be uploaded to an online sharing site (e.g. WETransfer, Google Drive, etc.), with a download ink provided to Dr. Fowler.

Position will remain open until filled although we expect to start reviewing applications on Nov 1st 2022 with a view to holding online interviews mid November 2022.


Badlands Dinosaur Museum is a growing institution located on the 12-acre campus of Dickinson Museum Center in Dickinson, ND. The museum was founded in 1992 by Alice and Larry League and operated as Dakota Dinosaur Museum until 2015 whereupon it was acquired by the City of Dickinson and transitioned to public ownership. In 2016, Dr. Denver Fowler was hired as Curator of Paleontology and the museum was renamed as Badlands Dinosaur Museum in 2017.

Badlands Dinosaur Museum is undergoing a complete overhaul of the facility, exhibits, and programming. New fossil specimens are being collected by our fieldwork program that are prepared in our public viewing laboratory. Fossil storage facilities have been upgraded and in 2018 we were granted the status of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management federal repository. Our evolving exhibit features new displays each year.

Further information on Badlands Dinosaur Museum can be found at our homepage and Facebook account: