Pirates Will Invade the Saint Louis Science Center May 1

Pirates will invade the Saint Louis Science Center when the blockbuster exhibition Real Pirates opens on May 1. The exhibition, the world’s first exhibition of authentic pirate treasure, explores early 18th-century piracy and includes more than 200 artifacts recovered from the first fully authenticated pirate ship discovered in American waters.

The exhibit, organized in part by National Geographic, tells the true story of the Whydah, a real pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., nearly 300 years ago. It showcases chests of gold coins, jewelry, cannons, pistols, knives and a life-size replica of the ship’s stern that visitors can board. St. Louis is one of just 10 cities the exhibition will visit.

The Whydah, the ship at the center of the exhibit, was located in 1984 by underwater explorer Barry Clifford, who is still actively excavating the wreck site and continues to bring treasures to the surface every year. Real Pirates relates the stories of four members of the Whydah crew, including John King, the youngest known pirate on board the ship, who was believed to be younger than 11 at the time of the shipwreck.

As part of the exhibit, a dozen multimedia galleries showcase the reality of the slave trade in West Africa and the economic prosperity in the Caribbean in the early 18th century, the Whydah’s journey, the ship’s capture, the violent storm that sank the ship, its discovery by Clifford and the recovery and conservation of its artifacts. More information about the exhibit can be found at www.slsc.org.

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