Interpretation and development of collections

Types collections online

Staff: Harriet Wood

Our Mollusca collections hold some 3200 type specimens, around 300 of which are primary types (holotypes and lectotypes). The online types catalogue contains specimen images, full reference information, collection information and label scans for all the primary types. The project will continue with secondary types being added after the launch and staff will continue to investigate currently unrecognised types within our collections.

To learn more about our type collections please go to our collections page.

Investigating the marine micro-gastropods of Rodrigues

Staff: Harriet Wood

BIotir 3
A meeting of the Malacological Society

A meeting of the Malacological Society, Vienna, July 1930

Over the last decade the museum has acquired an extensive amount of material from the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues (Republic of Mauritius) via expeditions, workshops, purchase and donation. Identification and analysis of the micro-gastropods in these collections is still required and this project aims to develop these skills within the museum with the support of colleagues at the University of Amsterdam.

The focus of this research will be to work on material from the Shoals of Capricorn collecting expeditions to Rodrigues, run by the Royal Society, in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Secondly, it will be to investigate material in the Rene Viader collection from Mauritius, which came to the National Museum of Wales in 2000. This collection validates a checklist Viader produced in 1937 and will prove an interesting comparison between historical and modern material from this region.

New Molluscan Names introduced by Cesar Marie Felix Ancey

Staff: Harriet Wood, Jennifer Gallichan

César-Marie-Felix Ancey (1860-1906) was an enthusiastic land and freshwater shell collector with a wide geographical interest. He lived in Algeria for most of his adult life and mainly focused his studies on snails from the Hawaiian Islands, Central Asia and South America, and to a lesser degree from Europe, Africa and North America. When Ancey died his collection was sold and became fragmented. A part of it was bought by J. R. le B. Tomlin who bequeathed his own collection to ourselves in 1955.

In the process of curating our part of the Ancey material it became necessary to review Ancey's publications and to ascertain the status of the material in our collections. This work evolved into a wider ranging investigation of the whereabouts of potential type material and the aim of this publication is threefold. To provide the reader with:

  1. a complete list of Ancey's 756 new molluscan names;
  2. his complete molluscan bibliography containing 176 references, and
  3. direction on where his type material resides, with particular focus on the 155 lots held by ourselves, which have been figured.

Cataloguing the Tomlin Correspondence Archive

Staff: Jennifer Gallichan

The Tomlin correspondence archive is a collection of all of the correspondence between J. R. le B. Tomlin and his many shell associates around the world, spanning the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It is estimated to contain well over a thousand documents and we began cataloguing and digitally scanning these in 2002.

The content of the archive mostly concerns the everyday aspects of maintaining a large collection, however, the cataloguing process has unearthed many interesting finds. It has brought into focus aspects of the lives of the people that contributed to the archive, recounting collecting expeditions and voyages, personal illness and hardship, war, dinner invitations, even Christmas cards! It is an archive not only of scientific history, capturing a bygone era of collecting, but also an archive of personal and social history.

More images from the archive

Past Projects in this research area

Past historical projects include “New Names” compilations for J. C. Melvill, J. R. le B. Tomlin, E. A. Smith, and the brothers H. and A. Adams. Each of these were published as Museum publications by Alison Trew.