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Avast, Ye Mateys! Pirates Crash Science Museum

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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Gallery: Real Pirates At Science Museum

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Five years of hard work has finally brought pirates to the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The exhibit — Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship — takes us back 300 years to tell the story of a real sunken pirate ship.

The Whydah sailed the seas as a slave ship before it was captured by infamous pirate Sam Bellamy in the early 1700s. It flourished in the golden age of piracy until it sunk in a storm in 1717.

“That pirate ship became something of a legend until the explorer Barry Clifford actually went out and found it off the coast of Cape Cod,” said Mike Day, senior vice president of the Science Museum.

He spent decades recovering and conserving the artifacts.

“These are things that they used.  People were using these very items,” said Clifford.

You’ll see more than 200 artifacts, such as muskets, swords, and cannons.

“These are not pirate movie fantasy pirates,” said Day. “This is the real pirate story, the real pirate artifacts, and so you’re really going to learn the history of this period.”

The exhibit also gives you a chance to interact a little bit, like at the “Can You Spy the Prize?” booth. A “prize” is when a pirate steals a ship.  They are many different kinds, and you can spy your own prize.  “What’s exciting about our staging here is that visitors who come to the Science Museum are not only going to see the artifacts, they’ll actually meet some real pirates,” said Day.

The same “pirates” (i.e. actors) who crashed our set at WCCO will portray the real life stories of the pirates who lost their lives on the Whydah when is sank 300 years ago.

Real Pirates opens Saturday, Feb. 18 and runs through Sept. 3.

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