The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum proudly announces its newest exhibition titled In Focus: Precision Photography of Extraordinary and Uncommon Shells. The exhibition will be held from May 29th through November 28th, 2021, during regular Museum hours (with paid admission).


The Museum’s Science Director and Curator, Dr. José H. Leal, has been leading an important project for the Museum to build a publicly accessible photo archive of its shell collection. “Along the way, through superb and highly technical photography, the project has revealed in new ways the incredible beauty and uniqueness of these mysteries of nature,” explains Sam Ankerson, Executive Director of the National Shell Museum. “Visitors will now have the opportunity to experience this for themselves in person, in large format, adding a new dimension to our appreciation of shells.”


The Museum’s collection includes half a million shells from all over the world. The collection embodies an incredible diversity of nature and beguiling aesthetic beauty. This new exhibition of some 60 high-resolution, large-scale photographs, taken in recent years by the Museum, conveys in compelling detail the richness and unique attributes of the universe of shells and mollusks. It features many species unfamiliar to most collectors and enthusiasts.


Organized by Dr. Leal, the selected photographs were taken for the Museum’s Digital Imaging Project, which was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Explore the In Focus exhibition to see the Museum’s collection on display in its splendor, and view more at under the Science & Research tab and Shell Guide tab.


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. Their mission is to connect people to the natural world through their love of shells and the marvelous animals that create them. Their collections, programs, and expertise inspire learning, support scientific research, and tell the story of mollusks and the ocean that they inhabit. There are more mollusks in the oceans than all marine mammals and fish species combined, and mollusks are becoming extinct due to climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution. For more information on the Museum, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.