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The Shell Game: Unravelling Molluscan Mysteries

July 28, 2021 - December 18, 2021


For the last three years, our Historic Southern Naturalist (HSN) Project has been digitizing thousands of specimens, documents, and artifacts in significant historic collections at the A.C. Moore Herbarium, The Charleston Museum, McKissick Museum, and South Caroliniana Library. McKissick Museum’s historic shell collection has been part of this effort.

For decades it was believed that this collection of mostly snail and clam shells had been donated by noted amateur Charleston conchologist, Willian G. Mazyck. Recent research through the HSN project confirmed that the collection was amassed by 19th-century naturalist Lewis Reeves Gibbes, Mazyck’s cousin, and mentor. After his death in 1894, Gibbes’ daughters sold the collection of more than 4,300 shells to the university and Mazyck organized and identified the specimens.

This collection of snails, clams, oysters, and other molluscs have now been digitized and can be found on display in The Shell Game: Unravelling Molluscan Mysteries located in our 3rd-floor lobby gallery. McKissick Museum is free and open to the public Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.


July 28, 2021
December 18, 2021
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McKissick Museum


McKissck Museum
816 Bull St
Columbia, SC 29201
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