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How would you like a museum of exotic shells in a traditional tourist village of a Greek island? Well, this is the Corfu Shell Museum that has been established since 1989 in the small village of Benitses, Corfu island, by a private shell collector. Awarded by the IREDA Research Institute of Italy, this museum displays a wide and rare collection of shells and sea species. Mr Spyros Sagias, manager of the museum, talked to us about the foundation of this lovely Shell Museum.
"Everything started with the initiative of Mr Napolean Sagias, a diver and shell collector", he said. "He had been living in Australia for more than 20 years. With his team, he used to dive in the Indian and the Pacific Oceans and soon he obtained one of the largest shell collections in the world. In 1989, Mr Sagias returned to his homeland, Corfu, and established the Shell Museum in Benitses, where he displayed more than 10,000 wonderful sea species. In fact, this is one of the largest and fullest shell collections in Europe".
What kind of exhibits does the museum include?
It includes shells, fossils, sponges, corals, embalmed fish and sharks, lobsters, crabs, urchins and snakes from the Indian and the Pacific Oceans and also from the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the exhibits came from the personal collection of Mr Napolean Sagias and also from donations.
Which are the most popular exhibits of your museum?
Well, this depends on visitors actually. Younger visitors show special interest in sharks and fish in general, while other people are mostly attracted by our unique shells. Note that our rarest exhibit is the shell Cypraea Fultoni, which is actually the rarest shell in the world. This particular shell has been registered in the World Guinness Record and has been evaluated at about 20,000 euros.
Do you temporarily host other exhibitions?
No, the exhibition is permanent. We do not temporarily host other exhibitions, but our collection itself is frequently enriched with new and interesting pieces.
The Corfu Shell Museum is open daily from March to October. It is located in Benitses village, 12 km from Corfu Town and 2 km from Achillion Palace.