Visitors and friends of The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will soon notice a new name and logo adorning the longstanding Sanibel institution.


In advance of its early 2024 re-opening and reflecting the significance of aquariums added to the Museum in 2020, the Museum has announced a renaming to The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium. Simultaneously, a new logo and graphic identity will help guide a rebranding of the institution, which is also motivated by a redesign and reinstallation of its permanent exhibit spaces including the Living Gallery of aquariums and marine life and the shell exhibits of The Great Hall of Shells.


The Museum opened in 1995 on land donated by members of the Bailey and Matthews families of Sanibel. A natural history museum with a focus on shells and mollusks, the Museum’s collection of shells and related specimens grew to over 550,000. In 2010 the Museum was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and in 2020 the addition of aquariums comprising 11 tanks and 10,000 gallons of water and exhibiting over 60 species of marine life transformed the educational and visitor experience. In 2022 the Museum was accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, shortly before the Museum was severely impacted by Hurricane Ian.


Executive Director Sam Ankerson said, “Following over a year of rebuilding and re-imagining the Museum, its exhibits, and its educational and experiential value to the public, the National Shell Museum & Aquarium is poised to embrace 2024 as a renewed and improved cultural resource, to flexibly offer year-round educational programs for all ages, and to continue to represent the best in public understanding and enjoyment of shells, mollusks, and their ecosystems.’’


Visit for updates.


About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium 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. In 2023 the Museum is under reconstruction following the impacts of Hurricane Ian. For more information, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.