The Mollusc Collection at the University of Aberdeen contains a diverse selection of 2550 specimens. Collected from the 1840s up until the late 1970s most were found around the British Isles. The collection also includes several specimens from as far afield as the Pacific, Africa, China, Madagascar, America, and Canada.
As the scope of the collection is so diverse, with many of the specimens accompanied by detailed data, they act as an excellent historical record of specific species and their ecology.
The University of Aberdeen has been awarded funding to improve accessibility, storage and interpretation from the Natural Sciences Collections Association’s ‘Bill Pettit Memorial Award’ which supports the conservation, access, and use of natural science collections. The University of Aberdeen’s Zoological Collection is a part of a Recognised Collection of National Significance, as well as being an Accredited Museum.
The £1,165 grant will be used in a year-long project to re-house and catalogue the Zoology Museum’s mollusc collection, reigniting its use for learning and research.
The project will also improve the storage of the molluscs to extend the longevity of the collection for future uses.
The ‘Bill Pettit Memorial Award’ was created in recognition of Charles Arthur William ‘Bill’ Pettit (1937-2009), for his dedication and commitment to natural sciences collections. Charles began his career at the National Institute of Oceanography but moved to the Manchester Museum in 1975 to become Assistant Keeper of Zoology, where he was instrumental in delivering many innovative projects throughout his time there.
A new mollusc display will be created in the foyer of the Zoology building, which will include a papier mache model of a mussel by the 19th Century French naturalist Louis Auzoux. The display will celebrate the use of the natural history collections for teaching throughout the University’s rich history as part of this year’s ‘Zoology Museum 50’ event, celebrating 50 years of the museum.