Picture of Dick Wills

Dick Wills


Search Mission

I started my adventure with a rather altruistic mission:

  • Locate, excavate and identify dinosaur fossils specimens.
  • Preserve, stabilize and restore fossil specimens for display and study.
  • Develop opportunities for educational field trips.
  • Present fossil specimens to schools and museums for display and educational programs.

After a few years I have been able to locate many fossils, and I continue to work on educational programs based on the experiences in this site. However, I have never found a museum or other institution in the US that wanted or could purchase what I have found. Most museums do not have the time, energy or skill to prep dinosaur bones for display. Nor do they have the funds to contract others to prep them. So, my fossil bones remained in storage.

I learned that there are thousands of dinosaur fossil bones lying idle in their plaster casts, stockpiled in warehouses around the U.S.  They stay idle for the same reason I have not placed my specimens. There are more fossils to prep than there is money or interest to prep and display them. This is especially true for bones from the more common species. There are just so many museums in the country and most are already full with displays of interest to their local region. And, a museum may not accept a dinosaur fossil specimen unless they have a Paleontologist on staff to support a display.

I will keep searching for the right situation, but in the meantime, I wanted to make my fossil collections available to the public so I created my own museum: the Prairie Fossil Museum in Knoxville, TN. This is a small, one room collection in my business office complex. I hope to be a useful field trip site for local home schooling families and home school co-ops. I want kids to be able to not only view real dinosaur bones, but to touch, feel and hold them. See details at https://www.prairiefossilmuseum.com

There are millions-of-fossils, not Million$-in-fossils. Be realistic, this is not a money making hobby. One could always try to recoup some exploration expenses by offering a few common pieces for sale on the internet. But that is often not worth the effort. If you did pay to have a larger fossil professionally prepared for display and then were able to sell it for a $1,000, you may already have over $950 invested in time and expenses. Rather, your big reward and pay off is in great exercise, beautiful scenery, and the excitement and thrill of discovery.  And, when you do find a bone, you realize that it was once a part of a living being and your eyes are the first on earth to see a part of this creature since it died 65-100 million years ago. WOW! 

If you are still interested after this reality check, please read on.

Triceratops Skull

Finding A Dinosaur

by Dick Wills

Finding A Dinosaur

by Dick Wills