The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum recently established two new programs aimed at giving more people across Lee County a chance to experience the educational impact of its shell collection, aquariums, touch pools, and marine life.


The first initiative, Lee County Sunday Afternoons, grants half-price admission to the Museum on Sundays from 12-5pm for Lee County residents who demonstrate proof of residence such as a driver’s license or utility bill.


The second initiative, Community Access Program, is a free-access program whereby the Museum partners with service and support agencies throughout Lee County to distribute free-admission passes to low-income Lee County residents and other populations that are underserved or disadvantaged. Passes are valid for free single-day admission to the Museum without expiration date.


“Our hope is that by lowering economic barriers for neighbors to enjoy the Museum, we will increase access and educational opportunity, and the Museum’s role as a local and regional community resource,” said Sam Ankerson, Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Executive Director.


Funding for these initiatives is made possible thanks to an anonymous donor.


About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a Natural History Museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. Its mission is to use exceptional collections, aquariums, programs, experiences, and science to be the nation’s leading museum in the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and celebration of shells, the mollusks that create them, and their ecosystems. Permanent exhibitions on view include the Great Hall of Shells which displays highlights of the Museum’s collection of some 500,000 shells, as well as the Beyond Shells living gallery of aquariums and over 50 species of marine life. For more information on the Museum, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.