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Under the Sea event returns to museum

By Staff | Jan 13, 2016

The Silent Auction was a big hit at last year’s Under the Sea fundraiser, with plenty of bids made. FILE PHOTO

For the first time since 2005, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s largest fundraiser will return home to the museum later this month offering a behind the scenes look at the museum.

“We are very excited to bring it back home,” Development Associate Paul Gulbrandsen said about the event, Under the Sea. “It’s a behind the scenes look at the museum and how special this place is.”

The annual event, which began in March 2005, will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at the museum, 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road. Tickets, which are $150 a person, are going fast. To reserve a spot, call Melanie at (239) 395-2233, or visit www.shellmuseum.org.

Gulbrandsen said there are many benefits to bringing the fundraiser back to the museum. Those benefits include attendees having the opportunity to have a behind the scenes look at the museum, sit in on in a live tank talk and participate in a shell collection tour.

“Our collection is important to the island, to the state of Florida, to the country and to the world as a natural history archive,” Gulbrandsen said. “And it’s located right here on Sanibel.”

Although some of the species in the museum’s collection no longer exist, the world class collection is possible because of those who had the vision to start the museum, the staff then and now, and the highly educated and dedicated volunteers who spend countless hours organizing and cataloging the shells, he said.

Individuals will have the opportunity to visit five different stations for 5 to 10 minutes while receiving a good education about what the Shell Museum does.

The event will also feature G3 Catering. The variety of food will include a chef attended mashed potato martini bar, chef attended beef carving station, as well as other food choices such as tapas. Such drinks as a signature champagne cocktail will also be available for attendees.

The Under the Sea event will also feature live and silent auction items.

Some of the live auction items include wildlife photography at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge for up to two people; private screening at Island Cinema for up to 20 people with pizza; Bunche Beach high tide paddleboarding excursion with Dr. Jose H. Leal, the science director and curator of Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, and a Piper champagne brunch beach walk for up to 12 people.

All of the funds raised during Under the Sea will go towards children and adult educational programs at the museum.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.