Welcome to the Shell Museum!

The Museum Mission:

  • To educate about shells and mollusks, the shell-makers, through exhibits, educational programs, library services and publications;
  • To further awareness of nature and the natural environment;
  • To promote collection-based research on shells and mollusks with emphasis on Southwest Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.

Featured Events

Marine Naturalist Adventure

03/01/14 - 06/30/14

At Captiva Cruises South Seas Island Resort Captiva Island

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and Captiva Cruises present an ecological expedition that will educate and excite marine enthusiasts. Join a Marine Naturalist from the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum for an unforgettable day with a small group aboard the 40’ sailing catamaran "Adventure." The trips set sail Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. at South Seas Resort on Captiva Island. The four-hour cruise costs $100 for adults and $75 for children and includes the boat trip, lunch, and admission to The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

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Beach Walks

03/18/14 - 05/27/14

At Island Inn 3111 W Gulf Drive Sanibel, FL 33957

Join our Marine Naturalist for a beach walk on the sand near Island Inn on Sanibel Island. This guided beach walk leaves from Island Inn every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Come learn about the shells, the mollusks who create them, and other marine life that has washed ashore. The cost is $10, and parking at Island Inn is free for beach walk participants. Space is limited so book today. Call (239) 395-2233 to make a reservation. All participants receive a coupon for half-off Shell Museum admission.

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Florida United Malacologists 2014

04/12/14 - 04/12/14

At The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

The annual meeting of Florida United Malacologists (FUM) will take place on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (BMSM) on Sanibel Island, Florida. The one-day gathering is designed to enhance communication among professional, amateur, and student malacologists.

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A Night at the Museum

04/16/14 - 04/16/14

At The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

Join us for another installment of "A Night at The Museum" with Dr. José H. Leal, Museum Curator and Director of Education. Dr. Leal will present an account of the Smithsonian/Shell Museum adventure to the deeper reaches of the Bahamas islands. "The Bahamas Deep-sea Expedition" event is just $10. Refreshments, including beer and wine, will be served. Reserve your spot by calling (239) 395-2233 or online.

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Open Daily from
10 AM to 5 PM

Closed on New Year Day,
Easter Sunday, Fourth of July,
Thanksgiving Day, & Christmas Day

3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road
Sanibel, Florida 33957 USA

Phone: (239) 395-2233
(888) 679-6450
(239) 395-6706

accredited by the maerican association of museums



Marine Naturalist Cruise


trip advisor

Sanibel Island

Shell photos courtesy of Henry Domke

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