Shell collection arrives at Museum

A sample of the shells found in the Fern Georgia Anderson Collection.

A sample of the shells found in the Fern Georgia Anderson Collection.

Collections Curator Paul Van de Carr (center) with Richard Anderson and his wife Lynn Hansen.

Collections Curator Paul Van de Carr (center) with Richard Anderson and his wife Lynn Hansen.

It’s one shell of a collection.
In October, shells of every shape and color, size and distinction, hailing from all over the world, arrived at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. The collection, part of a large donation from Richard Anderson, constitute years of diligent work on the part of the Anderson family. The collection (called The Fern Georgia Anderson Shell Collection) is so large, in fact, that it took a moving truck to get them all to the Museum. 
The collection arrived in two large, wooden cabinets – each with 16 custom drawers; an additional two, smaller cabinets with 25 drawers; and a small library of marine biology books. Many of the shells are labeled with the location, date, scientific name and other pertinent data.
The donation also includes specially made cabinets designed to house the assorted pieces. The collection itself is named for Richard Anderson’s mother, Fern, who collected a majority of the specimens. Her husband, Harry, also contributed to the collection. Fern and Harry met and fell in love during World War Two and moved to southern California following the war. There the two discovered a passion for collecting, according to Richard. The family also traded shells from their own collection with others from all over the world, leading to the variety of specimens found in the set. Richard Anderson chose the Museum as a permanent home for the shells out of a personal love for citizen science, and the Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS) in particular.
The set is currently being catalogued. Following that, expect samples from the collection to pop up in exhibits and for Museum educational purposes.