kw: natural history, natural science, museums, research, collections, photographs
In the first picture we see about ten trays of "Unionids", freshwater mussels of the family Unionidae, being checked by one of the volunteers. Alex, our collections manager, had already checked the classification for those lots that had identifications (we call them "determinations") and made determinations for as many of the rest as he could do within a few days' time. Other volunteers had also, at his direction, entered the data for these lots into the mollusk department's database. That done, Alex printed labels for them and this volunteer is gathering certain ones to pair them with their new labels and check for consistency. They will wind up sorted by genus and species and then be put away in the cabinet room.
Many amateur shell collectors attain great expertise to identify the genus and species of many or most of what they collect. The best become self-trained curators, and it's even better if they gain a mentor or two by belonging to a "shellers club"; there are two such clubs in nearby parts of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Shell Club and CenPennBeachcombers.