How to Unlock the Museum and Get a Shovel
You’ll embark on your journey of opening up your island’s museum early on in the game, with Tom Nook asking you to collect five specimens of fauna.
These can be fish or insects, for which you use the net (made out of five tree branches) or the fishing rod (also made out of five branches) to catch the creatures.
Once you’ve delivered five species to Tom Nook, he’ll ask you put down a tent for Blathers to use when they arrive.
A day later, the owl arrives with another task for you. Now, Blathers wants you to scoop up 15 more finds, which can be bugs, fish, or fossils.
To help you with this new assignment, Blathers gives you the recipes for crafting a Vaulting Pole and the Flimsy Shovel. You’ll find that you need both to maximise your daily fossil haul.
Once you’ve given 15 new specimens to Blathers, he’ll announce that renovations are underway to open a proper museum building.
During this time (one day), you won’t be able to donate any more of your catches or finds. If you have a house by this point – which you get after giving Tom Nook 5,000 Nook Miles and agreeing to his next capitalist scheme – you can store them there.
Or, if you’ve loaded up on fossils, you can dig a hole and then put an item in the hole by selecting the option on the item from within your inventory.
Now, the museum is open, and you can enjoy giving Blathers specimens in bulk instead of one at a time.