The Shell Museum

This double-storey stone building was constructed in 1902 as a separate warehouse to the mill. It is particularly well-preserved and boasts an unusually angled corner, which is also a feature of the old mill.

Sturdy oregon pine columns and beams support the upper storey where grain was stored until required. There was no connecting stairway between the ground and upper floor. Grain was stacked on the upper storey via the door on the southern side of the building.

Mr Joe Shirley later ran his plumbing business from this site, and it became known as the "Shirley Building". Over time it was also used as a furniture factory and garage for motor repairs.

The Shell Museum - Dias Museum Complex

In 1987 it became the Shell Museum. On the ground floor you can learn more about the ecology of molluscs (slugs and snails). Various living molluscs and other small marine animals may be viewed as well. A life-sized model of a giant squid is also displayed.

The Mollusc and Man exhibition portrays the history of the human use of molluscs. A touch tank and other in the aquarium enable visitors and school groups to actively learn about marine animals along South Africa’s shoreline. 

The upper level boasts a collection of terrestrial, fresh water and marine shells from all over the world and holds the largest South African display of shells. On this level there is also a whale and dolphin exhibit and a life-size model of a Great White Shark that weighed 476 kg.


Axelson, E. (ed) (1988): Dias and his successors. Saayman & Weber, Cape Town.

Fagan, G. & E. Axelson. (1984):  Die Posboom Provinsiale Museumkompleks, Mosselbaai. Kaapstad: Departement van Natuur- en Omgewingsbewaring van die Provinsiale Administrasie van die Kaap die Goeie Hoop.

LANTERN, Januarie (1988). Tydskrif vir Kennis en Kultuur.  Jaargang, 37, nr.1 (Stigting vir Onderwys, Wetenskap en Tegnologie, Dept. van Nasionale Opvoeding, Pretoria)

Stander, S. (1988): Mosselbaai 500 jaar.  Munisipaliteit van Mosselbaai. Clyson Printers, Maitland, Kaapstad.

The Shell Museum

COVID-19 Protocols

In accordance with our museum’s approved COVID-19 Lockdown Operational Plan, the operation times at our museum will be adjusted as needed. The museum is operated under strict lockdown rules and regulations. 

  • Visitors without masks are denied entry to the premises. 
  • Visitors are required to sanitize before entry.
  • Visitors’ temperature is tested and those who have 38°C or more are not allowed to enter the premises. 
  • The caravel is closed until further notice. 
  • The aquarium touch tank at the Shell Museum is operated like other tanks, visitors are not allowed to touch the animals. 
  • Only 100 visitors per building are allowed at a time.
Entrance Fees - Complex

Entrance Fees

Complex Entry

Adults: R 20.00
Pensioners: R 10.00
Children under 18: R 5.00

Entrance Fees - Complex & Caravel

Entrance Fees

Complex & Caravel

Adults: R 40.00
Pensioners: R 20.00
Children under 18: R 10.00

Opening Hours
  • Monday To Friday 08:15 to 17:00
  • Saturday & Public Holidays09:00 to 16:00
  • Sunday09:00 to 16:00
  • Lockdown Level 4:Closed

Contact Info

+27 (0)44 691 1067

+27 (0)44 691 1915


1 Market Street

Mossel Bay, South Africa