This summer, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum (BMNSM) delivered a robust educational program to over 1,300 youth by bringing its Mollusks on the Move mobile outreach activities to local summer camps.


Now with school back in session, the Museum is re-launching its donor-supported K-12 programs that provide free field trips, outreach education, and online classes to students across Southwest Florida. The diverse curricula offer students an exceptional education about the amazing world of mollusks, their shells, marine life, and conservation of vital ecosystems.


BMNSM serves thousands of K-12 students during the school year, most of the time at no cost to schools or students thanks to donors who support the Museum’s long-running giving program Adopt-A-Class. Adopt-A-Class donors help assure that students at Title 1 schools– many of whom have never visited the beach – have access to the unique stories, lessons, and experiences and education the Museum offers, regardless of a school’s or students’ ability to pay.


K-12 program options include:


  • Guided Field Trips: 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 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 wonders of shells and mollusks virtually to classrooms via Zoom and WebEx. Programs featuring a 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.


To learn more about K-12 programs and Adopt-A-Class, 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 accredited museum in the United States with a primary focus on 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 50 species of marine life. For more information on the Museum, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.