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Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse: Marine Biologist, Collector, and Scholar

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Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse

Marine Biologist, Collector, and Scholar


Many may not know, but here at the Whyte Museum, we have a rich and diverse collection of Japanese objects and art. In January 2018, Dr. Gain Chin, an Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Regina, provided a scholarly assessment of our Japanese collection. She was able to add depth and clarity about the cultural significance and value of our collection. How you may ask, did we acquire such objects? Come with us on a journey of the man known as Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse. 

Morse specialized in the study of malacology, which focuses on mollusca. Mollusca includes snails, slugs, clams, octopus, squid, and so on. As a marine biologist he focused heavily on this classification of invertebrates. In 1870, he published a book that reclassified braciopods as worms, rather than mollusks. In 1877, Morse went in search of coastal braciopods in Japan. This short stay turned into a three year adventure for Morse. During t…