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Volunteers make our programming possible.

Join the team!


Now Accepting 2024 Volunteer Applications!

Volunteers at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum get a unique opportunity to share their passion for shells and mollusks with others. Don’t quite consider yourself a shell enthusiast, but still want to help out? We have plenty of opportunities! We always need help in our retail store and at admissions. We have special events going on throughout the year that are made a lot easier with an extra set of hands. Special skills like records management, IT, handy-person, etc. are not listed below, but are always welcome. Many of our volunteers help in multiple areas. All volunteers help the Museum further its mission, whether it is working directly with guests, or behind the scenes.


  • Aquarium Docent: Interact with guests in the Beyond Shells: Living Gallery. Educate guests about animals and exhibits, facilitate guest engagement, and enhance guest experience.

  • Aquarium Husbandry Volunteer: Help our expert aquarium husbandry staff care for our unique animals.

  • Aquarium Water Quality Volunteer: Aquatic animals require pristine water quality in order to thrive. Assist the Husbandry Department by conducting water quality tests for all animal habitats.

  • Children's Field Trip Docent: Lead a station in the Adopt-A-Class 4th Grade Field Trip program

  • Great Hall Docent: Interact with visitors in the Exhibit Hall. Assist guests with scavenger hunts, educate guests about exhibits, facilitate guest engagement, and enhance guest experience.

  • Group Tour Docent: Help lead groups of Road Scholars or other tours through the Museum. Adult and children's groups available.

  • Librarian Volunteer: Help manage the Museum’s 3,000-volume library of books, periodicals, and articles on a wide range of subjects related to shells, mollusks, marine and land ecosystems, and more.

  • Mollusks on the Move Volunteer: Travel with a Museum educator to a school, community/learning center, hospital, etc. to educate the community about live mollusks. Be ready for long days and LOTS of kids!

  • Museum Store Volunteer: Assist store staff with customer service, stocking shelves, dusting, labeling, and other tasks as needed. Help create a fantastic shopping experience!

  • Shell Ambassador: Teach Sanibel’s beachgoers about shells, mollusks, and other beach finds. 8-hour training course required.

  • Touch Pool Docent: To facilitate guest engagement, educate, and supervise guests touching mollusks at the Touch Pools. Create a unique and memorable experience for guests and help foster lifelong learning.

Volunteer Perks

  • Free Wentletrap membership after 20 hours

  • 20% discount in the Museum Store

  • Professional training

  • Social events & opportunities

  • A chance to learn something new every day!

We welcome all ages and experience levels! However, volunteers ages 13-17 may only apply for the Aquarium Docent and Arts & Crafts positions, unless supervised by a guardian at other positions. Volunteers under the age of 13 must be supervised by a guardian while volunteering.

We look forward to having you join our team!


To apply for open volunteer opportunities,
please email application to
or call 239-395-2233 with questions.

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