In addition to repairing the damage to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s building and aquariums following the impacts of Hurricane Ian, staff have also been working to restore the Museum’s surrounding landscape and wetlands.


In partnership with Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) with the help of dozens of volunteers, the Museum has installed over 800 plants of native vegetation and grasses. Museum volunteers along with members of Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva, FISH, and Florida Gulf Coast University dedicated two days of hard work to helpin the restorarion.


SCCF guided the project by creating the landscaping plan, determining the appropriate native species, and supervising the installation.


“Restoring Sanibel’s unique wetland habitat is critical to the health of our island’s ecosystems,” said Jenny Evans, SCCF’s Adult Education Director. “We’re so happy to partner with the National Shell Museum in making sure that the property is supportive of the plants and animals that call the island home, and we can’t wait to see everything grow and flourish.”


“We’re glad to have the Museum’s surrounding landscape on the road to recovery, and grateful to SCCF for the guidance and our intrepid volunteers for enduring the heat to get this done,’’ said National Shell Museum Executive Director Sam Ankerson.


The National Shell Museum is currently closed for reconstruction following the impacts of Hurricane Ian. Its re-opening will be phased, with the goal of restoring the Living Gallery of aquariums, lobby, and Museum Store by the end of 2023.


About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a natural history museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted primarily 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 550,000 shells, as well as the Beyond Shells living gallery of aquariums and over 60 species of marine life. In 2023 the Museum is under reconstruction following the impacts of Hurricane Ian. For more information, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.