Scientists, like most people, are instinctive collectors. The founders of Scripps Institution of Oceanography were no exception. As they began exploring the marine realm in the vicinity of the fledgling field station and beyond, they naturally collected specimens, bringing them into the laboratory for identification and study (Figure 1). They, and a host of scientists after them, knew that the materials they were assembling had a value transcending their own interests. This realization led to efforts to archive them for future use and thus to the eventual creation of the Scripps Oceanographic Collections.