The Bivalve Collection is really a collection of collections.  Over the years a number of private and institutional collections have been assembled on the campus and organized into the collection here today.  The earliest large accession was that of Henry Moores (1812-1896) and was world-wide, fossil and Recent.  Through exchanges with Say, Binney, Conrad, Lea, Haldeman and others, Moores assembled one of the most diverse collections of labeled shells of that period.  The University purchased this collection (3500 specimens for $1,750) circa 1890, added to it several private collections and catalogued the material as part of the holdings of the first organization of the Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity in 1891.  This collection and others were given to the Ohio State Museum on Campus in 1925, maintained and enlarged for nearly half a century, then returned to the administration of the University in 1970.  Although the greater part of the collection has been assembled by the Museum staff and students since 1950, the importance of the earlier contributions in documenting fauna that has been extensively extirpated and, in too many instances, become extinct, should not be overlooked.

Size and Housing

The Bivalve Collection presently has ~78,000 catalogued lots consisting of >450,000 specimens. Most are arranged in systematic sequence in trays in cabinet drawers.  Nearly 6,000 lots comprise the larger series of specimens, which yield data having a correspondingly higher statistical significance.  These are stored in labeled boxes, in catalog-number sequence, on steel shelving.  The collection is catalogued in a single numerical system.  All data are computer-stored for convenience in data retrieval, search, recombination and other uses.  All three collections are housed in a single large range room (7,500 square feet).  For students and visiting researchers there are a number of conveniently placed desks and tables, and the database may be accessed from a computer within the collection range.  Adjacent laboratories are devoted to processing and cataloguing of incoming material, and research.

Some grasp of the breadth of world fauna available here can be had by noting that specimen lots from 73 different countries representing all continents except Antarctica have been catalogued.  All states of the United States are represented except Hawaii.  In all >600 species and subspecies of Bivalve mollusks are represented.  These are almost exclusively freshwater taxa.

The fossil material should really be termed subfossil and is represented mainly by archaeological specimens from prehistoric village burial sites.  A growing aspect of the collection comprises the “bones” of species from streams and lakes where the fauna has been extirpated within the last century.