Car Rentals Fort Lauderdale and the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum
Sanibel Island is one of the best places in the world for collecting sea shells, so it is only natural that one of the world's foremost shell museums and education centers is located on this island off the west coast of Florida. Many vacationers drive in their Fort Myers car rentals down to the beaches in Sanibel to collect unique and beautiful shells.
Created and Run by Local Shell Enthusiasts
The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum was started by local Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club member who were passionate about educating people about the importance of shells and mollusks and their environment. The parent organization of the museum they created with a personal $10, 000 grant from Charlene McMurphy is called the Shell Museum and Educational Foundation, Inc.
The current name of the museum, 'Bailey-Matthews' comes from the donation of the land that the museum sits on by Francis, Samuel, and John Bailey in honor of their parents, Frank P. Bailey and Annie Mead Matthews.
The museum's collection contains nearly 150 000 different specimens. Take the family in one of our Fort Myers car rentals to see the many different shells and mollusks oceans around the world. The shells and preserved mollusks on hand are largely sourced from waters around Sanibel including the Gulf of Mexico. The idea is to educate people about the animals and environment in this area and also to serve as a specialized center of education. Students and scientists who focus on this area come to the museum to study the vast array of animals in the collection.
A Visit to the Museum
After you have settled into your accommodations and have picked up your Fort Myers car rentals, be sure to book a tour of the Baily-Matthews Shell Museum. The more the merrier by the way, groups of 10 or more are given a discount on the admission fee.
Tours are guided by staff members or one of the many local volunteers who dedicate their time to the museum. Visitors are treated to a slide show on mollusks and various displays that the museum has set up - live mollusks are often part of this display.
In case you have not yet taken your Fort Myers car rentals on your own shell hunt, you can handle a special collection of local shells as part of your tour.
A Great Hall of Exhibits
The Great Hall of Shells is a large exhibit area that can house over 20 different displays at a time - enough to keep you busy for an afternoon after parking your Fort Myers car rentals and heading inside to visit the museum. The “Gifts from the Seas of Sanibel and Captiva” exhibit highlights the common shells that are common to the local environment.
The “Florida Fossil Shells” display shows guests to the museum what they would have found if they had of visited 15-20 million years ago. Of course your Fort Myers car rentals would not have been as useful then as it is now - the entire area was at the bottom of the sea at that time.
Many other displays offer up fascinating information about mollusks, something that many people who do not live on the sea do not spend much time thinking about. Learning that some mollusks are used to create medicines and that a certain type of shell was used as currency in different parts of the world opens your eyes to a new and fantastic world of animals.
A Journal of Malacology
The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum also publishes a quarterly scientific journal on the field of malacology - the study of mollusks. This publication, the Nautilus, is largely supported by subscriptions, so if what you have seen at the museum leaves you hungry for more information and knowledge, consider buying a yearly subscription to the publication.
Collect Them on the Beach, Get to Know Them in the Museum
Mollusks and sea shells abound on Sanibel's beaches, some visitors even come here just to collect some and bring them home. If you want to learn about what these beautiful and diverse creatures are all about, then a trip to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is a must during your Fort Myers and Sanibel holiday.