The Corfu Shell Museum was started by a diver and deep-sea collector, Napoleontas Sagias in 1989. He had earlier lived in Australia for more than 20 years and finally when he returned to his homeland, this initiative was taken up by him. The museum is set in a modern-looking building that is just two km from the Benitses village. The village is a highly frequented tourist placed of Corfu. Exhibits, in excess of 10,000 have been housed here and these are all looked after properly by the founder and his family.
Napoleon’s diving adventures with his team in the Indian and Pacific Oceans fetched him a large number of different catches. It includes conches, fossils, corals, shark and shark teeth, crabs, sea snakes, shells, sponges, stuffed fish, sea urchins, lobsters, and many other aquatic life forms. All of these can be expected in the museum so that they add a lot of variety to the collection. A whale skeleton is also present here that adds to the considerable excitement that can build up while looking at the items.
Apart from all the day-to-day exhibits that can be expected in this type of museum, it also has some special additions like the Cypraea fultoni shell that is the costliest and scarcest she4ll which is present here. The approximate cost of the shell has been pegged at USD 22,000 and it is certainly one of the most valued items in this museum. One of the heaviest shells that have ever been discovered by man is also present here. It is called the Tridacna gigas and the4 weight of this shell is about 65 kg.
Additionally, some of the most beautiful shells are also displayed here. The Haliotis iris is a shell which is only expected off the waters of New Zealand and undoubtedly it is one of the prettiest shells that have ever been found. Due to all these exemplary efforts apart from a lot more, the museum was awarded in 1989 by the Italian research institute, IREDA
The Corfu Shell Museum is, no doubt, a treasure trove for many rarely-found species so that many people from across the world visit here. Practically, shells and fishes from the Fiji Islands, Australia’s Coral Dam, Samoa Islands, and the Philippines are on display here. A particular shell, known as the Melo Amphora belongs to the Volutidae family and is considered to be the biggest in the world. It is generally found in the Dampier archipelago’s Rosemary Island off the northern coast of Australia.
Every visitor can see the exhibits displayed here six days a week. The museum is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 10 AM to 6 PM and a visit here can easily be over within two to two and a half hours. There is a small entry fee of four Euros that has to be paid at the entrance so that the museum can be maintained properly. Most exhibits have been housed here in safe glass cabinets so that they stay perfectly safe.
The exhibits are not labelled and that can be a problem for uninformed visitors. However, the presence of a girl staff here can be quite helpful in identifying the different shells. A lot of quality information pertaining to them can also be achieved from her.
The Corfu Shell Museum is highly frequented by a lot of tourists who want to get detailed information about sea-life and the different species that live there. Additionally, many scholars also visit the museum along with school children of Corfu who are provided with a guided tour of the place. The museum has helped reignite the interest of locals as well as a vast community of people who want to learn more about the hidden aquatic life in oceans.