BC new home to rare natural-history collection

A natural-history collection including thousands of rare South Pacific seashells, American Indian artifacts from the Ohio Valley, African game animals and preserved specimens of insects has been donated to Bridgewater College.

The collection was collected and maintained by James K. Grimm at the James Madison University Life Museum from 1983 to 2001. The museum was closed in ’01 due to space constraints, and the collection had been put into storage thereafter.

It ends up at BC after being acquired by the Virginia Agriculture and Nature Center Foundation via the foundation’s organizers, Ronald and Eugenia Nelson of McGaheysville, who are 1962 and 1963 graduates of Bridgewater College.

Among the items contained in the collection are some 5,000 specimens of butterflies, moths and insects from 52 countries; 500 separate collections of South Pacific seashells, valued at $14,000; American Indian tools and grindstones from the Ohio Valley; and stuffed African game animals that were originally part of the “Frank Bennett Safari Collection” at Lynchburg College.

“Collections of this sort are a rare and important addition to a biology program at any school, not to mention a small liberal arts school such as Bridgewater,” said Edgar B. Lickey, an assistant professor of biology at BC who is helping to oversee the collection. “It has great educational potential, not just for our students, but for researchers at other institutions who are studying species diversity.

“This resource,” Lickey said, “will add a new dimension to our program and further strengthen the department’s academic mission.”

 

– Staff Report


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