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IT'S BACK: Sanibel's Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum reopens

Posted at 4:35 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 16:37:29-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, a popular attraction in Sanibel, has reopened its doors more than a year and five months following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Executive Director Sam Ankerson says the museum has not only recovered from the natural disaster but has also significantly expanded its offerings.

"I would estimate that we've tripled the amount of content available to visitors now," Ankerson shared.

The museum now boasts exhibits that feature more than fifty different species of marine life, with promises of more to come.

This first phase of the museum's reopening focuses on the first-floor exhibits, with the second phase expected to be unveiled by early summer. The enhancements and necessary repairs have come with a hefty price tag, estimated between $3 and $4 million. Ankserson says the community's support has been made this transformation possible.

"Over 1,000 individuals making gifts, the collective outpouring of support was the most remarkable and meaningful and impactful for this museum," said Ankerson, highlighting the community effort to revitalize this Sanibel staple.

Visitors who want to support the museum can now do so at a discounted admission price of $10 for adults and $5 for children.