SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. (August 7, 2020) – After seven years at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Executive Director Dorrie Hipschman has stepped down from her role to pursue other opportunities.

“We appreciate Dorrie’s commitment and service through the years,” said Board President Holli Martin. “Under her leadership, the Museum successfully completed a $6 million capital campaign to improve the Museum’s facility and solidify a commitment to ocean conservation and education.  The ground floor of the museum now features aquariums with live mollusks and cephalopods, including junonias and a giant Pacific octopus. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish her well on her future endeavors.”

“It has been my great pleasure to direct the museum for the last seven years,” Hipschman said. “We have an amazing team of employees and have reinvented the museum into a vibrant, environmentally oriented natural history museum with an amazing live collection.”

The Museum’s Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. José H. Leal the current Science Director and Curator, as the Interim Executive Director. José has been with the organization for 24 years. He is well-known and respected in the scientific community and has an in-depth knowledge of the Museum. Among his many achievements was the Museum’s 2010 accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums.

The Board of Trustees has already begun the first steps in a national search for the next Executive Director of the Nation’s only museum dedicated to shells and the mollusks that create them.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum has welcomed more than 1 million visitors to date. The nonprofit museum is an integral part of Sanibel Island, a curving Gulf of Mexico barrier island that’s home to more than 400 species of mollusks.


About the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and the living mollusks that create them. Opened in 1995, its mission is to connect people to the natural world through their love of shells. Extensive collections, programs, and expertise inspire learning, support scientific research, and tell the story of mollusks. A world-renowned malacologist, highly trained marine biologists, environmental educators, and passionate volunteers offer visitors from around the world a wealth of knowledge about the scientific, cultural, historical, and culinary importance of shells. The museum is the leading authority on Sanibel and Captiva shells, with exhibits that include the rare junonias, fig snails, pen shells and more. It also displays some of the largest shells in the world, including the goliath conch, lightning whelk, Atlantic trumpet triton and horse conch. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a registered 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums