Shell Collection

When I was at UCLA, I was seriously into shells and put together a collection of some 1000 species. These are mostly not beach specimens. They are primarily from southern CA, but also from Baja, Pacific coast, Gulf of Mexico, East Coast. These are from around 1972.
I moved away from CA and the collection moved into boxes. I will never go back to the ocean.
I went into teaching and added many things (sponges, echinoderms, coral) to the collection.
The collection needs a new home. I am not looking to sell it. And I include the field books, the guidebooks. If I must repack and ship it, I would appreciate postage.
I am in the Missouri Ozarks.


It sounds so lovely! I am sure others will have better ideas than mine.

That said, importation into MX of shells and corals and the like as part of household menajes is prohibited. Thus when a friend who had a collection from New England was moving here, she placed hers with a local community college. Being not used to receiving as many gifts as other institutions, they were extremely grateful for it.


Wow. That is a story I’m dying to ask about. Please don’t let your collection go to waste. There has to be a good place for your collection.

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Is the associated data good? As an amateur/semi-professional malacologist from Southern California, I could recommend several museums that would be happy to have your collection. Museums are generally safer long-term repositories than individuals or universities. I don’t know how permitting works with older material, but I’m happy to put you in touch to ask. I personally don’t have room for my own collection at the moment so I’m not looking to acquire any others.


I’m not sure if @susanhewitt is very active on the forum, but you could message them on iNat and ask or point towards this post.


Yes! That is who I was trying to think of.

If you can give locations and dates for many or all of the specimens, most museum with a shell collection would be happy to get them. You can look up what a museum has or check the faculty at a zoology or biology department, looking for someone who studies malacology. You can also photo the shells and post them on iNaturalist, whether or not you give them away.

If they don’t have precise data, the shells are best used for teaching or given to shell collectors. (By the way, I have a few boxes of shells from Tonga, 1974-1975, no other data, that I need to give away.)


Afraid I get online only a few times a week.
Most of the shells are in my field book, where and when collected etc. They are numbered and indexed to books with identifications.
I had really wanted to study malacology or conchology. Life happens. My parents moved to Arkansas. I rolled a car over and ended up in Arkansas too. And then the goats arrived. I’ve raised Nubians for almost fifty years now.
So far I’ve approached local teachers. No interest. A local small museum. No interest. Rolla Univeristy. No interest. Frustrating. I could try the University in Springfield, MO, although I would have to mail them there. I no longer drive such distances for a variety of reasons, mostly time (I milk twice a day.).
The problem seems that no one studies malacology in Missouri as it’s too far to the ocean. It seems I will be packing the shells up and checking with places closer to a coast.
It might be interesting to post pictures of them on iNat as I pack them. That will take a while as the last time all of them were laid out they covered most of a 12’ by 20’ room.


Shell collectors may be interested depending on the species you have. If there is anything that is not frequently seen it may be worth parting out certain species. If you post them with their data out of your notebook, iNat may be a good repository for their data even if you give the specimens away and they get scattered forever. If you post them you may get interest from shell collectors on iNat. I’m not sure what your material is and where you got the shells, but if you have some interesting offshore material that would be very interesting to see. Back in the 1970’s you may have had access to species that are rare now. Beach type shells are well represented, but offshore species are few and far between on iNat. “Specimen shells” are not commonly posted, at least from the Americas

While there are good paleontology collections in the Midwest, most of the good mollusk collections are on the coasts (the Field Museum is one exception).

I don’t know anything about this university, but if you’re mailing them I’d recommend mailing to a good museum. I can personally vouch for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

This would definitely be great if you have the time!

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