You don't have to be a globe-trotting explorer to obtain a fragment of the oldest matter ever collected (C. 4,568,200,000 years old), an insect in amber (C. 3,430,000,000 years old), or even an ancient mummy wrap (C. 350 BCE). There's no need to trek across the desert to an archeological dig in hopes of laying your hands on a triceratops' brow horn, or a T. rex tooth.
Thanks to collector Hans Fex, avid natural history fans can be curators of their own Mini Museum via his successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. These portable collections of fossils, bones, lunar rocks, and pieces of history are painstakingly assembled by Fex who broke these covetable specimens into smaller pieces, then embedded them in resin. The Mini Museums are handcrafted, individually numbered, and extremely limited.
"My father, a brilliant scientist, came home and put a little piece of something from Malta into epoxy so he could keep it safe and on his desk or window ledge and carry it around for inspiration," Fex told Crave. "I think some of us love to have or at least hold things that make us want to imagine. I think also when we hold these items we have an even greater desire to learn more about them."
Fex added, "When I saw my father putting a specimen into transparent epoxy it just clicked that I can make the epoxy mold bigger, put just small bits of each of the most iconic species [and] relics and then he and a bunch of other people can carry something in their pockets that -- well -- blows one's mind!"
The Mini Museum features a wide array of fragments of items including lunar rock (meteorite from the moon), Chelyabinsk meteorite, Martian rock (meteorite from Mars), Apollo 11 Command Module foil from the first manned lunar landing, dinosaur egg and dung, duckbilled dinosaur bone, pterosaur wing bone, sauropod vertebrae, K-Pg boundary layer (sediment from the time of the dinosaur mass extinction event), surviving tree from the Tunguska Event, and Trinitite from the first nuclear bomb test.
"I asked museum curators and university researchers where they get their specimens," Fex told Crave. "They would get them directly from the professional 'meteorite hunters' who find the meteorites or the specialists who dig up the dinosaurs.
"Triceratops brow horns might not be rare, but I wanted one that was nice but not so nice that it belongs in a research collection."
Other unusual items in the Mini Museum are fragments from a human skull and brain, Corinthian leather, foundation brick from Abraham Lincoln's house, the Berlin Wall, London Bridge, coal from the wreck of the Titanic, a ladder rung and rock from Mt. Everest, and even soil from Vlad III's castle in Transylvania.
"I think the artifacts that at first shock people to see are the human brain and the Martian rock -- a meteorite that NASA agrees contains actual Martian atmosphere!" Fex told Crave. "I have a friend who couldn't believe that I would put in a sample from a tree that survived the Tunguska blast," Fex added. "I put it there because it is exciting to imagine these things can happen, but that the people who witnessed it and the scientists who have been researching it have always believed it to be a meteorite or comet."
People can order three different sizes of the Mini Museum: small, which is 2x3x1 inches with 11 specimens; medium, at 3x4.5x1 inches with 22 specimens; and large, at 4x5x1 inches with 33 specimens.
Each Mini Museum comes with a detailed online companion booklet with photographs and information about the provenance of all available specimens. The booklet also includes a few awesome stories about adventures Fex had while collecting these unique specimens. With only a few days left to go in the Kickstarter, Fex has already more than met his pledge goal of $38,000. In fact, with over 4,000 backers, Fex has raised over $1 million dollars for his Mini Museum project!
"The Universe is amazing and realizing this collection has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life," Fex wrote on the Mini Museum Kickstarter page.