The Paul W. Parmalee Malacological Collection contains approximately 150,000 catalogued and 150,000 uncatalogued specimens of freshwater mussels, aquatic snails, and land snails. This includes over 320 species of freshwater mussels from 42 states and 25 countries, making it among the largest in the Southeast.
The mollusk collection at the McClung Museum has grown into one of the largest of its kind in North America. The collection has archeological specimens of freshwater mussels, aquatic snails, and land snails dating back several thousand years as well as modern material dating to the early 1800s. All species of freshwater mussels historically occurring in Tennessee are present in the collection, and there are freshwater mussels and aquatic and land snail specimens from 92 of 95 Tennessee counties, 42 states, and 25 countries.
The malacology collections are available online through InvertEBase: View the collection profile »
Researching the Collections
Learn more about conducting research within the Malacology Collections.
Using Collections in Your University Coursework
We welcome professors to contact the museum about using the Malacology Collections for teaching and learning opportunities in our Object Study Room or the galleries.
Loans of McClung Museum objects are only made to museums, universities, or other organizations with the director’s approval. Learn more about Loan Requests.
The museum occasionally accepts donations of specimens that relate to the museum’s mission and complement existing collections. Learn more about Donating Objects.
The malacology curator is happy to assist with helping you identify your specimen(s). For analysis, please contact Curator Gerry Dinkins directly.
Student and Volunteer Opportunities
The museum occasionally has internship, graduate assistant, and volunteer opportunities available, which are listed on our website. Learn more about Working at the Museum.