There are some museums that have the full force of government funding able to collect and curate important moments in history, geography or culture. There are some museums that respond to cultural, scientific and artistic needs of the citizens. There are some museums that are the result of a singular vision of a collector, having amassed a huge personal collection the only way to legitimise it is to turn it into a museum. The Griffiths Sea Shell Museum falls into the latter category.
Perhaps a singular vision isn't a strong enough term to describe this place. There are shells. And there are more shells. And then there are shell related objects. And more shells. And shell fossils. And coral. And fish. And a highly detailed train set. And shell art. And then more shells.
I couldn't discern the curatorial logic behind the displays apart from displaying each shell type in the hundreds, but it works. Seeing them sorted by purely structural taxonomies gives the place an air of obsessive eccentricity, and it's what I was there to see. It seems to have moved away from a private collection as more and more shell collectors have sent in their private collection as well, adding to the charm of the place. I'm not sure how much I learnt about shells, but there sure are lots of them.
But no self respecting obsessive shell museum would be complete without a freakshow component, which is why they have a two headed baby shark and a devil fish. And Fugu. FUGU!
It was tempting not to post the whole collection here, but that's what Flickr is for.