Yes…That’s a Mollusk Hospital


A new exhibition will open at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel called Mollusk Hospital: A Shell Folk Art Journey in 20 Rooms. It’s a combination of art, science, and whimsy.

The hispital is the creation of Anne Joffe, a renowned shell collector and leader in national and international communities of conchology. Mollusk Hospital is a group of 20 imaginative, miniature hospital rooms – from nursery to radiology to surgery to recovery – in which hundreds of shells are the patients.

Through a progression of re-created hospital environments – each approximately two feet square – visitors learn how mollusks (the animals that make shells) can become injured and the ingenious methods by which they protect and heal themselves. Camouflage, shell regeneration, and threats from natural predators and human activities are just some of the subjects illuminated through this engaging and visually compelling.

Debuted by Joffe in larger format at the 2016 Sanibel Shell Show, Mollusk Hospital became a sensation in shell enthusiast circles for its combination of artistic charmand educational merit. This selection of 20 rooms on view at the National Shell Museum represents the first museum exhibition of this delightful and revealing work of shell folk art and craft.

Mollusk Hospital is a wholly original visual and craft experience, with important lessons to teach about mollusk biology and behavior that will appeal and translate to visitors of all ages,” said Sam Ankerson, Executive Director of the National Shell Museum.

Mollusk Hospital will be on view during regular Museum hours through Monday, November 28th and is included with the cost of admission. Other special exhibitions on view at the Museum this season include Blackwater Moments: Nocturnal Photography of Open-Ocean Mollusks, open through October 15th.

Lee County residents receive half-price admission on Sunday afternoons from 12-5pm with proof of residency, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor.

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