The invertebrate Collection at the Mayborn Museum Complex consists primarily of pinned insects, but also includes many other arthropods and other animals without backbones. The Museum houses an extensive and historic collection of mollusks, including the largest collection of Texas freshwater mussels in the world.
The Mollusk Collection at the Mayborn Museum consists of over 11,000 gastropods and bivalves. The gastropods (also known as snails) within this collection are land and freshwater species, with more than 90% of the specimens from Texas localities. All of the bivalves (clams and mussels) are freshwater species, with 64% of the specimens collected in Texas. As far we know, it is the largest collection of Texas freshwater mussels anywhere in the world.
Many of the gastropods in the museum’s collection were collected by Frank E. Simmons. Born in 1880, Mr. Simons moved to Coryell County in 1910 and resided there for 51 years. It was not until he was in his 70s that Mr. Simmons developed an interest in conchology, the study of mollusk shells. Specimens from his efforts are in museums around the world, with over 2300 in the Mayborn Museum Collection.
In 1931, John K. Strecker, then curator of the Baylor University Museum, published “The Distribution of the Naiades or Pearly Fresh-water Mussels of Texas." In this publication he references his working relationship with Mr. Lorraine L. Frierson, an avocational conchologist. These two men met and corresponded for over 20 years and Mr. Strecker states, "what slight knowledge I have of these shells is due to his [Frierson’s] teaching." Between the two of them, they collected and placed into the museum’s collection 2277 bivalve specimens, over 1200 of which are from Texas.