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

Entrance Fees - Complex

Entrance Fees

Complex Entry

Adults: R 30
Pensioners (SA Citizens): R 20
Scholars Gr1 - 12: R 10

Preschoolers: Free

Entrance Fees - Complex & Caravel

Notice to Visitors

Caravel Closure

We regret to inform you that the Caravel is temporarily closed until further notice for your safety.

Opening Hours
  • Monday To Friday 09:00 to 16h45
  • Saturday & Public Holidays09:00 to 15:45
  • Sunday09:00 to 15:45

Contact Info

+27 (0)44 691 1067


1 Market Street

Mossel Bay, South Africa