Shells of Southwest Florida

The Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island is a premier source of information about the shells of Southwest Florida. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only accredited museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks.
This unique, nonprofit natural history museum educates, inspires, builds community, and connects people through their love of shells, the diverse animals that create them, and the natural environment.

The museum’s 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.

Need help identifying a local southwest Florida shell? Go to for the museum’s shell guide and Shell ID app.

Contact or visit the museum:
3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, FL 33957
​239-395-2233, [email protected]

Fossil Shells

Florida has a rich fossil record, both invertebrate and vertebrate, especially in southwest Florida. Many shell enthusiasts enjoy collecting and studying fossil shells from the region and there are several clubs in Florida devoted to this hobby. Visit the Florida Museum of Natural History website to learn more: