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Post-Hurricane Experience

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum (BMNSM) on Sanibel Island is pleased to re-open to visitors Wednesday, February 1 for a unique, abridged, limited-time experience of shells, natural history, and perspectives of the recent events of Hurricane Ian.

Although the storm caused major damage to the Museum and reconstruction lies ahead, the facility has been cleaned out, dried, and disinfected. Several exhibit areas are intact and available to enjoy. Until reconstruction work begins later this spring, BMNSM is pleased to offer this post-hurricane museum experience.

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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.


Know before you go:

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


  • 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.


  • Physical accessibility is limited. The open areas of the Museum are located on the second floor, and there is currently no elevator access to the second floor.


  • Bathrooms (second floor only) are functional.


  • Water fountains are out of order and there is no onsite food or drink. Visitors are welcome to bring their own and use the Museum’s patio furniture outside the building.


  • About 40% of the Museum’s interior walls and ceilings have been gutted. This is a unique, but rustic, museum experience!

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