The museum hosts the largest number of shells on display in the world. There are more than 5000 kinds of rare shells ranging from several hundreds of kilograms weight, to small tiny items, which require a magnifying glass to see. The shells are from waters of four oceans, shared by 30 countries, including New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Morocco, Malaysia, Fiji and Philippines.
Most of the museum exhibits came from the personal collection gathered for 30 years by famous shell collector, Mr. Zhang Yi.
There are also the contributions from shellfish societies and scientists from other countries , like Japan, Taiwan and the United States.
For about 6 years the exhibition has been located in the building resembling the European medieval castle, opened in 2003 just east of Xinghai Square.
From the location the museum was also referred as Xinghai Seashell Museum or Dalian Castle Museum.
At present the museum is in the process of transfer to the modern exhibition building constructed nearby.
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