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Welcome to OctoCam!

In early June, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s Giant Pacific Octopus began the natural process of senescence, or end of life. He began refusing food and released spermatophores, a sign of a reproductive phase after which the animal declines over a period of weeks or even days, and their death is imminent.

While he was in the Museum’s care, the Giant Pacific Octopus inspired and educated over 100,000 visitors at the Museum and over 33,000 viewers online. The response from the Islands community and all who saw him in person, as well as the online community who viewed him on social media or here on OctoCam, has been overwhelmingly supportive. He was beloved and will be missed.

On June 29th, the Museum welcomed a new resident Giant Pacific Octopus who is adjusting very well to his new home!

Following damage sustained by Hurricane Ian, The Great Hall of Shells, which first opened in 1995, is being redesigned and reinstalled to exhibit a greater quantity and diversity of shells. New displays will feature approximately 3,000 specimens (more than double the number on view previously) with a dazzling array of beauty and global biodiversity, and will include special focuses on Southwest Florida shells, world-record-sized shells, deep-sea species, land snails, and ancient fossils.
 
An expanded section of exhibits about how shells play a role in human history and culture will include new spotlights on shells in currency, adornment, music, art, architecture, spirituality, food, utility, medicine, curiosities, and collecting. A pre-existing exhibit of the connections between shells, mollusks, and the Calusa culture will be refreshed and augmented.

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A new section of The Great Hall devoted to conservation and environmental education will include exhibits on water quality, warming oceans and ocean acidification, invasive/introduced species, aquaculture, and restoration initiatives. Also included will be a new children’s and family activity area with games, books, art activities, etc. 

 

The new Great Hall of Shells is projected to open in late-spring 2024.

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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium is not yet reopened but will be soon, in two phases.

 

We expect to reopen the Living Gallery of Aquariums on March 1st, and the Great Hall of Shells and Special Exhibitions later in the spring. Stay tuned to this website and the Museum’s social media and email communications for the latest.

 

When the Museum reopens on March 1st, hours will be 10am-5pm, Tuesday – Saturday.

 

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photo credit: Stephen Plein / New Wave Eco Charters

On view and available at the Museum:

  • The Great Hall of Shells, featuring over 30 exhibits of shells, their ecosystems, natural history, and cultural significance.

 

  • A new temporary exhibition In the Wake of the Flood: Community Photographs of Hurricane Ian and Its Aftermath.

 

  • A guided “Shell and Tell” experience, whereby collection experts share and explain dozens of shell species from around the world. Visitors are welcome to handle these shells.

  

  • A selection of gift items for sale from the Museum Store, and the opportunity to purchase Supporting Memberships. All proceeds are in support of recovery and rebuilding efforts.

 

Hours

Before construction begins, the Museum has re-opened to provide visitors a unique, abridged, limited-time experience of shells, natural history, and perspectives of the recent events of Hurricane Ian.

Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11am-3pm, although these hours are subject to change and visitors are encouraged to visit ShellMuseum.org in advance to reconfirm.

Admission

There is no required admission fee, however a minimum donation amount of $10 adult / $5 child (under 18 years old) is suggested in support of the Museum’s recovery and rebuilding.

3075 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1195

Captiva, FL 33924

info@shellmuseum.org

Location

Hours

Before construction begins, the Museum has re-opened to provide visitors a unique, abridged, limited-time experience of shells, natural history, and perspectives of the recent events of Hurricane Ian.

Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11am-3pm, although these hours are subject to change and visitors are encouraged to visit ShellMuseum.org in advance to reconfirm.

Admission

There is no required admission fee, however a minimum donation amount of $10 adult / $5 child (under 18 years old) is suggested in support of the Museum’s recovery and rebuilding.

3075 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1195

Captiva, FL 33924

info@shellmuseum.org

Location

Join a Museum Marine Biologist for an hour-long Beach Walk!

 

Identify and learn about shells and explore live mollusks and other marine life along the shores of Sanibel Island with the experts!

Tickets: 

Advance Booking Required

Please call 239-395-2233 or visit the Museum's front desk to purchase tickets.

Time:

9 am daily (except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day)

Location:

Meet at the big chair outside the Island Inn at 3111 W Gulf Dr. Sanibel, FL 33957

Price:

Adult (18+): $15

Youth (12–17 years): $9

Child* (5–11 years): $7

Under 5*: FREE (but must be registered)

*children 11 and younger must be accompanied by someone 18 or over

Other Information:

  • Free parking is available at Island Inn.

  • If we cancel your tour due to weather, we will refund your tickets. Tickets are otherwise non-refundable.

  • Staying at Island Inn? Please purchase tour tickets directly through the inn.

  • Tour funding provided in part by Culture Builds Florida.

Explore the Fascinating World of Mollusks
and the Beautiful Shells They Create

LEARN MORE

Visit our Museum Store for a great selection of unique gifts!

Daily Programming

Ongoing throughout the day and included with admission

Keeper Chats 

The Museum's Aquarists have awesome facts and stories to share about the animals in their care! Meet at the Giant Pacific Octopus aquarium at 11am DAILY to learn more about your favorite mollusks.

Touch Pools 

Get your hands wet and touch living mollusks in our two 15-foot long touch pools, while our educators teach you about the animals you're touching.

 

Scavenger Hunt

Test your knowledge of shells and mollusks by participating in one of our fun and educational scavenger hunts. We offer four different levels and prizes for everyone who completes one!

Mollusk Movie

Take a break and enjoy a short film about the mollusks of Sanibel. The movie plays continuously throughout the day.

Children's Experiences

Accessibility

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will be closed beginning Tuesday, September 27th due to storm conditions. We look forward to re-opening as soon as possible. Stay safe!

Adult (18+): $23.95

Youth (12–17): $14.95

Child (5–11): $8.95

Under 5: FREE

Active-duty service members and their families are always welcome at no charge. Discounts available for seniors (65+), AAA, and AARP.

The Museum is open, with these guidelines in place.

Daily: 10am to 5pm

Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve: 10am to 1pm

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day: closed

Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day: 12pm to 4pm

The National Shell Museum is a nationally accredited natural history museum that increases knowledge of and appreciation for mollusks and their shells using our collections, programs, and expertise to inspire learning, support scientific research, and tell the story of mollusks and their importance to our ecosystem.

 

100% of your tax-deductible contribution is used to support the Museum's mission to connect people to the natural world through their love of shells and the marvelous animals that create them.

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Lee County Sunday Afternoons

Half-price admission for Lee County residents on Sunday afternoons from 12-5pm (proof of residence required)

Children's Programs at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island Florida

Adopt-A-Class &
K-12 Programs

Animal care and research at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island Florida

Aquariums &
Marine Life Care

Great Hall Spotlights

Join Museum educators daily for short tours of exhibits in the Great Hall of Shells

Free At-home Activities

Shell-related activities you can do at home!

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Spotlights
3pm DAILY

Visit frequently to enjoy all three tours, which vary from day to day:
- Local Shells and Their Habitats
- Big and Small: World Record Shells and Micromollusks
- Shells of the World 

 

Guided School Field Trips

We provide your students with an extensive education on the world of mollusks! As they rotate through four stations, they'll learn about mollusk growth, habitats, reproduction, and feeding.

Time: Mon–Thu at 10:30am

Price: $10 per student

Capacity: 10–60 students

Mollusks Online

Learn about the fascinating world of mollusks as one of our marine biologists brings the museum and wonders of shells and mollusks virtually to your classroom!

Mollusks on the Move

This interactive experience brings LIVE mollusks right to you! School presentations focus on mollusk feeding, reproduction, and conservation and the importance of observing the natural world. We also bring our live touch pools to garden clubs, festivals, and other special events.

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I want to become a member and take my membership card home with me today. Is that possible?

Yes. Let one of our front desk associates know, and they will notify the membership department to print your card. Check back with the front desk before you leave, and they will present the card to you.

Once I become a member, how do I check in at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum?

Present your membership card to our front desk associates.

What if I leave my membership card at home when I visit the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum?

Our front desk staff can look you up either by member number or last name and grant you entrance into the Museum.

 North American Reciprocal Museums Program (NARM).

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum connects people to the natural world through their love of shells and the animals that create them.

 

One of the best things to do on Sanibel, the Museum offers fun and educational activities for the whole family. Kids love touching live mollusks in our touch pools, winning scavenger hunt prizes, and watching our Giant Pacific Octopus. Come visit the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks!

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"This museum was one of the reasons my shelling-obsessed daughters and I came to Sanibel. We were not disappointed!"

 

—TripAdvisor Contributor abstill

"We took our kids ages newborn-16 to the shell museum and we were impressed... The tank talk was interesting and fun and the guide was super kind taking time to answer all of our children’s questions."

—TripAdvisor Contributor Mommyoffiv

"They really cater to smaller clientele: a scavenger hunt and toddler friendly area that little hands can play, touch, explore."

 

—TripAdvisor Contributor R3dH3dGrl

Adult Education Classes

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Taught by José H. Leal, Ph.D. and Rebecca Mensch, MS

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum connects people to the natural world through their love of shells and the animals that create them.

 

At the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, we know that mollusks—the marvelous creatures that create the shells­—are amazing animals. There are more mollusks in the ocean than all the fish and marine mammals combined. Mollusks are a critical component of the world’s food web—including our own. Many are endangered and most people don’t know they exist.

One of the best things to do on Sanibel, the Museum offers fun and educational activities for the whole family. Kids love touching live mollusks in our touch pools, winning scavenger hunt prizes, and watching our Giant Pacific Octopus. Come visit the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks!

CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSOCIATE (multiple openings)

Summary:
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Sanibel, FL is seeking outgoing and friendly people to join our team at the admissions desk and in the Museum Store. BMNSM is a nationally-accredited natural history museum and aquarium with a focus on shells, marine life, and conservation located on beautiful Sanibel Island. The Museum includes 11 saltwater aquariums exhibiting over 60 species of marine life including a Giant Pacific Octopus, the largest kind of octopus in the world; as well as 35 exhibits of shells; a changing exhibition gallery; and auditorium for public programs and films. The Museum welcomes between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors annually. 

Customer Service Associates greet visitors, sell admissions and event tickets, answer questions about programs and exhibits, and more. In the Museum Store, Associates ring up purchases, direct shoppers to products, and help maintain an attractive appearance for the Store. Both of these jobs are crucial to the operation of the Museum and funding its non-profit, educational mission.

There are currently multiple openings for part-time employment. Scheduling is flexible, and seasonal positions are also available if you are not a full-time resident. For those with an interest in working with the animals and aquariums, it is possible to cross-train Associates so they may work at the interactive touch pools and educate visitors about the marine life in the aquariums. 


Location:
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road
Sanibel, FL  33957


Competencies:
•    Oral Communication/Customer Service Skills
•    Detail-Oriented 
•    Professionalism/Work Ethic
•    Team Player


Time Requirements: 
•    Flexible Schedule: minimum 13 hours/week; maximum 30 hours/week

Qualifications:
•    High School diploma

Available openings:
•    Multiple

To Apply:
Send resume and cover letter to Ryan Powell, Director of Finance and Operations, at rpowell@shellmuseum.org.

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