The shark in the movie Jaws is a guppy compared to the toothy beast that looms in Maryland’s Calvert Marine Museum. Visitors may be prepared for the displays that explain the estuarine life of the nearby Patuxent River and the adjacent Chesapeake Bay. But no matter how familiar visitors to this first-rate museum are with the life aquatic, they’ll be shocked at the overwhelming size of Carcharodon megalodon. Standing in front of the gaping maw of C. megalodon, awestruck visitors may conclude that modern-day great white sharks are only so-so.
The same, however, cannot be said of the Calvert Marine Museum located in Solomons. Featuring three permanent exhibit galleries within its 29,000 square feet, this museum presents a comprehensive learning environment in a manner that “students” of all ages will appreciate. Children and the young at heart can dig through a sandbox in search of shark’s teeth. Those who like to work with their hands may linger in the small-craft center, where traditional crabbing skiffs and workboats are maintained. The woodcarving and model boat shop may attract some, but most everyone will want to peruse the 6,000-square-foot small-craft boat shed.
Although many visitors will find a tour of the screw-pile lighthouse — with its late-19th-century artifacts and 360-degree views — rather fascinating, this 1883 remnant of a bygone era will probably not be what visitors to Calvert Marine Museum remember most. No, the memory that haunts involves row after row of giant teeth.