Smithsonian Collections Blog

Highlighting the hidden treasures from over 2 million collections

Collections Search Center

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Searching for Sharks

Shark Laying on Barrels, SIA, SIA2013-08815
August is here and so is Shark Week! Facebook pages, tweets and memes are celebrating one of America’s favorite theme weeks. Being married to an avid Shark Week lover, I have tried to get enthusiastic about Megalodon and Jaws, but really struggled to understand all the hype—That is, until I took the Shark Week quiz to find out what shark I am most like.

White-Tipped Shark, SIA, SIA2013-08818
I started out answering all the questions and wondered what shark am I: bull shark, blue shark?  When the questions were complete, I hit the send button and bam there it was, my shark persona.....the Hammerhead. I was slightly surprised until I read the description and realized that both the Hammerhead and I are social, quick tempered and most importantly, passionate about our food! After I stopped wondering if I should be offended or not when people’s response was “Oh, that sounds right” when they heard I was a Hammerhead, I became interested in learning more about the shark. I decided to try and find out any information about Hammerheads that may be in the Smithsonian’s collections.

Shark Caught on a Line, SIA,
Since I work for the Smithsonian Institution Archives, I started going through our collections. To my dismay I could not find anything about Hammerheads, which then raised the question, did we have any materials about sharks? Well, thanks to the wonderful item level records from the Field Book Registry, I was able to track down images of sharks. The collections contained: Whitetip Reef Sharks (which my husband likes to laud over me since reef sharks are his ilk), tiger sharks, and unidentified sharks, but alas, no Hammerheads.

I then turned to the Collections Search Center and to my delight there are over five hundred records relating to the hammerheads, including some great pictures of hammerhead teeth! The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s ocean portal also has a great number of hammerhead images to see.

Watson Perrygo Poses with Shark,
SIA, SIA2013-08824

So what did diving through the collections teach me? Well, I learned that taking a quiz about sharks can pique my curiosity about the amazing creatures sharks are and that the Smithsonian has a vast amount of shark knowledge.  I encourage both fans and non-fans alike to take the quiz and if you get bit by the Shark Week bug, check out the Smithsonian's collections to find out more about your shark.

Courtney Bellizzi
Smithsonian Institution Archives

No comments:

Post a Comment