Em-BRACING Eryops overview image


  • Post Date: 6/18/2019
  • Author: Gavin Robinson & Christa Deacy-Quinn
  • Reading Time: 3 minute read

A year has gone by, but that’s not long for the plaster cast of this 300-million-year-old eryops. In Part 1 of this three-part blog series, we highlighted how Spurlock worked with the Illinois Geology Department and University Facilities & Services (F&S) to design new mounts for the large piece. This time around, we installed support mounts, moved eryops onto a new wooden base, and cleaned it in preparation for display.

  • 6-8 feet long prehistoric reptile-looking plaster cast mounted to a stand

F&S brought the three adjustable mounts they designed to brace the plaster. A dense foam padding was adhered to the metal mounts to cushion the contact points with the plaster. One mount was placed under the head, one near the front legs, and one at the back legs to support the posture of eryops. These mounts were secured to the platform using glue, which ensures the stability of the plaster.

  • a man and woman examine metal mounts for the object
    The new adjustable mounts are sized for their final positions.
  • four people work around the object with gloves
    The head mount is secured with glue to the platform.

After securing the mounts, Collections Manager Christa Deacy-Quinn and Natural Sciences Laboratory Technician Jared Thomas worked on repairing damaged areas of the eryops plaster.

  • closeup image of two gloved hands attaching a fragment to the object's back
    A plaster fragment of its vertebra is reattached using glue.
  • A woman uses a paintbrush to restore a part of the nose section of the skull of the object.
    Areas of the plaster that were restored are painted to match the original surface color.

The platform under the eryops plaster then needed to be cleaned. Many years of embedded dust were carefully removed using a specialized sponge designed for delicate surfaces.

  • A woman uses a sponge to clean dust from the base under the object. The clean side is clearly darker.
    Christa uses a specialized sponge to clean the platform. Notice the different in color between the cleaned (right) and the dirty (left) sides.

Lastly, the newly repaired, supported, and cleaned eryops and platform were moved onto a wooden base. This base will be used in the plaster cast’s final display location in the Natural History Building.

  • Four men carry the heavy object and base over to a new wooden base.
    The eryops plaster is moved onto its new base.

A big thank you to University of Illinois Geology (external link) Head Tom Johnson, School of Earth, Society, and Environment (external link) Associate Director for Operations Scott Morris, Natural Sciences Laboratory Technician Jared Thomas, and the Facilities & Services (external link) team for working with us on this project! Stay tuned for the final part of this blog series: Eryops’ finds new home in the Natural History Building!