Mrs. Joyce Gemmell
Mrs. Carole Hertz
Mr. Larry Lovell
Mrs. Barbara Myers*
Barbara Myers and Carole Hertz, known as “the Shell Ladies," have been volunteers in the Marine Invertebrates Department for over 30 years. They double-handedly maintain an important research collection of over five million marine invertebrate specimens from around the world. Both Barbara and Carole have many scientific publications to their credit. As citizen naturalists with no formal training in science, this is quite a coup. Barbara has described over 25 new species of mollusks. Carole’s help was enlisted with the definitive work on the family Muricidae (murex shells), by Dr. Radwin and Anthony D’Attillio, Dr. Radwin’s assistant. She typed every draft and the final manuscript on a manual typewriter. Between the Barbara and Carole, they have presented, published, or contributed to over 100 scientific articles and book reviews. Carole’s credits even include a biography of Dr. Fred Baker, who donated his entire collection to the Museum.
Barbara and Carole have shown their mettle since the Museum’s expansion. The marine invertebrate collection was shifted into compactors for the move, and unfortunately, families were not maintained in order but instead placed wherever there was space in the drawers. Barbara and Carole have spent 1—2 days a week since the re-opening in 2001 restoring the collection back to the original condition without the benefit of a curator. They have had to rely on their own self-taught knowledge and the study materials in the SDNHM Research Library to identify and organize the collection into the proper taxonomic order. The San Diego Natural History Museum owes a great debt to these dedicated volunteers.