Sanibel Lighthouse and Shell Collectors at Dawn
Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club
The Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club was founded in 1961 by twelve members of the island community. Today the club has more than 150 members and is known for hosting the longest-running shell show in the United States. The Sanibel Shell Show is an intregral part of the annual Sanibel Shell Festival held the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday each March.
Shell Club meetings are held at The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. They are open to anyone who is interested in collecting and studying seashells and mollusks, the animals that create them, or working with shells as an art form. Our members range from beachcombers with shells they have found on the beach to knowledgeable collectors with very valuable collections. They may be permanent residents from the surrounding area, seasonal residents, or simply visitors who want to support the club. Shell collecting can be a lifelong professional interest or a happy diversion for one's spare time.
The purpose of the club is to promote the study of mollusks and the shells they create, to give assistance and information to others interested in this subject, and to promote and encourage the understanding of ecology and conservation. As a group we are responsible collectors devoted to increasing our knowledge while searching for perfection and diversification in shell specimens.
The objectives of the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club are to provide a forum for the exchange of information in the field of conchology and malacology; to foster public education and intelligent conservation of those and related ecological resources; to encourage and support studies and research activities in those fields.
Each year the club gives grants to several marine institutions, including The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. It is the only shell club to fully fund an endowment fund at the University of South Florida. From this fund, the University awards scholarships to graduate students in the Marine Science Department. The money for the grants is raised at the club's annual Shell Show. This year the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club is happy to announce that it was able to award $23,000.00 in grants. In addition to these grants, a $10,000.00 scholarship was awarded from the endowment fund at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.
We encourage all persons with an interest in mollusks, shells, marine environments and shell art to join the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club.