Washington State Magazine

Spring 2006

Spring 2006

In This Issue...


Ghost Towns of the Anasazi :: For the past three decades, WSU archaeologists and their students have been searching the Southwest with tools ranging from trowels to computers to uncover the story of a vanished people. by Hannelore Sudermann

Bridging Two Cultures :: A small school district radically retools to serve its Hispanic students. by Hannelore Sudermann

The Secrets of Sweet Oblivion :: What happens in our brains when we go to sleep—and what happens to us if we don't sleep enough—are questions that keep this research team up at night. by Cherie Winner


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Better living...through solar by Tina Hilding }


:: PERSPECTIVE: Words on words

:: SPORTS: When Pullman was a ski town

:: FOOD & FORAGE: Eat more garlic


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: James Donaldson's Journey by Scott Holter }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Recipe: Chef Betsy's Chipotle Shredded Pork Burritos }

Cover: Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632-1675), A Maid Asleep, 1656-57. Oil on canvas, 34½ x 30 1/8 in. (87.6 x 76.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913.

Three kinds of shells that can be found on Washington shores—and in the Archerd Collection at WSU Tri-Cities.

Three kinds of shells that can be found on Washington shores—and in the Archerd Collection at WSU Tri-Cities. Photos by B.E. Vaughan

Rough keyhole limpet <em>(Diodora aspera)</em>

Rough keyhole limpet (Diodora aspera)

Nuttal's cockle <em>(Clinocardium nuttalli)</em>

Nuttal's cockle (Clinocardium nuttalli)

Smirnia's neptune <em>(Neptunia smirnia)</em>

Smirnia's neptune (Neptunia smirnia)

See Shells Far From the Sea Shore

by | © Washington State University

If the winter grays have you hankering for a glimpse of beach life, head to the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus at Richland. There, more than 200 miles from Washington's coast—or just a few clicks down the Internet road—you'll find the Gladys Archerd Shell Collection. Looking at the incredible variety of whorls, spikes, and splashes of color, you can almost hear the gulls calling and feel the sand between your toes.

The collection was the lifelong passion of Gladys Doy Archerd, whose fascination with shells began in the early 1900s with childhood walks along the shores of the Olympic Peninsula. Over the years she became so knowledgeable about shell taxonomy, that Stanford University enlisted her aid in organizing its shell collection.

Today, the collection Archerd started includes about 65,000 shells representing 60 major families of mollusks. It emphasizes shells of the Pacific Rim, but also includes shells such as the chambered nautilus and other exotic forms that Archerd obtained by swapping with fellow collectors all over the world.

After her death in 1983, her daughter, Artis Archerd Vaughan, and son-in-law, Burton Vaughan, donated the collection to WSU Tri-Cities. Mr. Vaughan, an adjunct professor of biological sciences at the Tri-Cities campus, uses the shells in his class on evolution.

"The seashell organisms are a real natural," says Vaughan. "Mollusks morphed into just about any shape imaginable. They're a neat way to talk about the progression of life."

Vaughan put the collection online in 2000, primarily to make it accessible to teachers and students who aren't able to get to the coast themselves. With hundreds of photos and a self-guided tour of mollusk families, it's a terrific resource for budding biologists, artists, or anyone with a yen for the shore.

Click here to check out the collection's website, or visit in person at the Consolidated Information Center, Washington State University Tri-Cities, Richland. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. The center is closed Sunday.

Categories: WSU collections, Biological sciences | Tags: Washington Coast

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