Thanks to the generosity of donors who have supported its signature Adopt-A-Class program, for nearly 20 years the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum has been able to provide free field trips and outreach education to students throughout Southwest Florida.


The Adopt-A-Class program provides students exceptional education for kindergarten through 12th grade students about the amazing world of mollusks, their shells, and marine life; and the conservation of their ecosystems.


Despite the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, the Museum is pleased to announce that the Adopt-A-Class program will return for the 2021-2022 academic year. To offer the most flexibility during a period of continued adjustments in Covid-19 protocols, the Museum will now offer schools four options to choose from: guided field trips to the Museum, self-guided field trips, Mollusks on the Move mobile outreach, and Mollusks Online virtual classes.


GUIDED FIELD TRIPS: Students experience hands-on learning in the world of mollusks, the second-largest phylum of animals on the planet! Students explore the Museum’s aquariums of live mollusks and marine life, touch local mollusks in the touch pools, explore the Great Hall of Shells, and participate in a range of fun and interactive educational activities taught by Museum educators.


SELF-GUIDED FIELD TRIPS: Self-guided field trips are ideal for those schools interested in visiting the Museum, but also in designing their own experience. The Museum offers self-guided field trips through the aquarium and Great Hall of Shells. Self-guided visits allow for greater flexibility with scheduling and transportation.


MOLLUSKS ON THE MOVE: For schools that can’t make it to the Museum for a field trip, marine biologists can bring the mollusks to the classroom! Hands-on programs introduce students to many aspects of a mollusk’s life including anatomy, growth, diet, reproduction, and their role in the ecosystem.


MOLLUSKS ONLINE: Marine biologists bring the Museum and wonders of shells and mollusks virtually to classrooms via Zoom and WebEx. Programs featuring the Giant Pacific Octopus and other animals introduce students to the diversity of molluscan life and their habitats, the basics of conservation, and highlights of the Museum’s shell collection.


The Museum will prioritize allocation of Adopt-A-Class funds to Title 1 schools to ensure that students in our region – many of whom have never visited the beach – have access to the unique stories, lessons, and experiences of the shells, marine life, and conservation education the Museum offers, regardless of a school’s or students’ ability to pay.


To learn more about the Museum’s educational programs, please contact Kelsey Hausmann at [email protected] or 239-347-5119.


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.