Lyman Museum to host free showings of ‘Shark Girl’ documentary

  • Courtesy of SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL

The Lyman Museum in Hilo, in partnership with the Smithsonian Channel, invites the community to take a dive and keep an eye out for a few dorsal fins during two free showings of the acclaimed documentary “Shark Girl,” by divemaster and underwater filmmaker Madison Stewart, whose nickname is the film’s namesake.

Nothing feels safer or more natural to Stewart than diving directly into shark-infested waters.

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Growing up on the oceans and near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, she has always treated these predators as family. But they are vanishing from our world, and because of their bad reputation, few people seem to care.

One defining factor of Stewart’s childhood was seeing sharks in the wild. At a very young age, her ocean encounters led her to aspire to one thing, a future where she was always around sharks.

This film follows the 20-year-old on her mission to protect sharks, a battle that began when she put her studies on hold, grabbed a camera and set out to save these extraordinary, misunderstood creatures.

“We look at sharks in the ocean as the king of the sea,” said Johnson Torigiong, the former president of the South Pacific island nation of Palau, where shark fishing is illegal. “And if you kill the king, you kill the kingdom.”

Palau preserved an area roughly the size of France and declared it to be the world’s first national shark sanctuary, according to the “Shark Girl” page on the Smithsonian Channel website.

The film is being presented free of charge (donations are welcome, but not required) at 7 p.m. Monday (Oct. 15) and 3 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 16) at the museum.

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The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawaii. The museum is located at 276 Haili St. in downtown Hilo and is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, call 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.