Collecting seashells has piqued Dr. Peter Stimpson's interest ever since he was a young man. He had initially wanted to go to school to become a Marine Biologist.
Dr. Peter Stimpson began collecting seashells in 1988 while on a trip to Tahiti. He has collected so many shells that he isn't even sure of the exact count.
Dr. Stimpson is a member of the international seashell
community and is very well known. He currently has eleven shells named after himself. The University of Tennessee's McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture has hosted Dr. Stimpson's
collection twice now. Dr. Stimpson has one of the largest privately owned world-record size collection of shells known in the United States.
Dr. Stimpson has been getting his collection ready for the public to view since 2015. In late 2019 Dr. Stimpson was told he would need to seek a new location
to showcase his shell collection. He wasn't sure where or if he would be able to find another location. In early 2020 he signed a lease for the former McGill Funeral Home on Wharf Sreet, and has been silently moving all of his shells into the jewlery cases he bought from various locations.
The plan is to open the seashell museum with one room for
90 days in order to be eligible for grant funding for the museum. Susan Caldwell with the company Get Fully Funded, has said the museum has to be open atleast 60 consecutive days in a year to be eligible for federal grant funding.
Dr. Stimpson has hosted many events to raise the money needed to open his seashell museum. He also has a GO FUND ME page online to take donations from anyone who wishes to contribute to the museum. Dr. Stimpson's personal shell collection has thousands of shells, but not
all of Dr. Stimpson's shells will be placed into the museum. It is his hope that his unique collection of shells will be a huge draw to bring people in for tourism to Loudon County.
We hope to see you at the museum!