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Cowries are coming to the Shell Museum

By Staff | Aug 15, 2011

Dr. Jose Leal holds a cowry from the Shell Museum's collection.

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s much-anticipated cowry shell exhibit will soon makes its debut on Sanibel.

The display will be unveiled in the next few weeks, with a grand opening celebration to take place later this year.

The exhibit, which was underwritten by part-time Sanibel residents Richard and Jean Rompala, will include cowries, videos and artifacts as well as text detailing the biology, classification, collectability, diversity, cultural history and impact of cowries.

Not only are cowries popular with collectors for their beauty and symmetry, they have been pervasive as currency, clothing and decorative pieces in tropical and subtropical areas around the world.

Shell Museum Director Dr. Jose H. Leal is happy to see the cowry project finally coming to fruition.

“This exhibit will bring the museum literally into the future with the interactive videos we have on living cowries covering all aspects related to this great group of shells,” he said. “We have to take this opportunity to thank Jean and Richard Rompala for making it possible to sponsor this exhibit.”