Case Work


Shilshole Seashell Specimen Study:


These always rare and vitually invincible mollusks were originally though to be found almost exclusively in a narrow region of Pudget Sound and the Salish Sea. The creatures fed on natural run-off and urban industrial drainage. They fell prey to voracious Tunicates (shell-drilling mollusks) unintentionally imported to the region on the hulls and bilages of shipping vessels. By the Early twentieth century , both the outfall and shipping increased. The delicate environmental balance that served and supported the Shilshole mollusks was forever broken. These beautiful mollusks are now considered extinct.

Due to the shell’s turbinated shell and most unusual colors, these mollusks were considered unique and special to the First Nations Peoples. Becasue of their exceptional rarity, the shells were sometimes used in very infrequent and highly secret ceremonies. The mystic shells were never seen or shown to white explorers.

Shilshole Seashells are light -sensitive and must be protected from harmful UV and IR light. Manual kinds of protective defenses, such as louvers or glass coated with a soft-light barrier works well.

The artifacts still can give off a faint odor of the sea. In exhibition, the odor is best counteracted by a vase of especially collected bouquet of the Alstroemeria*-Peruvian Lily.