From working in the mess hall to acting as the head of the Supply Department, John J. Valois spent forty-one years at the MBL. He was first introduced to collecting on the vessel the Cayadetta. Valois worked for the Supply Department at the MBL (now the Marine Resources Center) beginning in the early 1950s. He collected on and even captained the vessel the Limulus and also worked on board another vessel called the Nereis. Valois took over as manager of the supply department in 1970. Valois was even responsible for overseeing construction of the Gemma.
One of Valois’ major goals during his time at the MBL was to improve communication between scientists and collectors. As previous chapters in this exhibit have alluded to, as the collecting department grew, so too grew a separation between scientists and the collecting of specimens. The two groups often worked separately and communication dwindled over the years. To help bridge this gap, Valois worked tirelessly to communicate knowledge about the organisms, from their environments to their habits, and more. The MBL archives show evidence of Valois’ communication efforts, with pictures of him explaining about marine life to visitors. Among other outreach opportunities, Valois participated in documentaries filmed at the MBL, where he discussed the importance of marine specimens for scientific research.
The MBL archives have collecting logs from Valois during his collecting days the 60’s. These logs provide valuable insight into daily collecting life. In 2011, a tank room was dedicated to Valois in the MBL Marine Resources Center.