National Shell Museum Executive Director Steps Down

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Dorrie Hipschman steps down as executive director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. SC file photo

After seven years at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Executive Director Dorrie Hipschman has stepped down from her role to pursue other opportunities.

“We appreciate Dorrie’s commitment and service through the years,” said Board President Holli Martin. “Under her leadership, the Museum successfully completed a $6 million capital campaign to improve the Museum’s facility and solidify a commitment to ocean conservation and education. The ground floor of the museum now features aquariums with live mollusks and cephalopods, including junonias and a giant Pacific octopus. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish her well on her future endeavors.”

“It has been my great pleasure to direct the museum for the last seven years,” Hipschman said. “We have an amazing team of employees and have reinvented the museum into a vibrant, environmentally oriented natural history museum with an amazing live collection.”

Dr. José H. Leal, the shell museum’s current science director and curator, has been appointed interim executive director. SC file photo

The Museum’s Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. José H. Leal the current Science Director and Curator, as the Interim Executive Director. José has been with the organization for 24 years. He is well-known and respected in the scientific community and has an in-depth knowledge of the Museum. Among his many achievements was the museum’s 2010 accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums.

The Board of Trustees has already begun the first steps in a national search for the next executive director of the nation’s only museum dedicated to shells and the mollusks that create them.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum has welcomed more than 1 million visitors to date. The nonprofit museum is an integral part of Sanibel Island, a curving Gulf of Mexico barrier island that’s home to more than 400 species of mollusks.

For more information about the museum please visit The museum is active on social media. Follow on Twitter (@shellmuseum), Instagram (@shellmuseum), and Facebook (/shellmuseum).

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