By Amy Rea

They’re coming — this weekend, riverfront, St. Paul: Pirates.

pirates 1 Wander Minnesota: Pirates On The Mississippi

(credit: Science Museum)

Saturday, Feb. 18 is the open date for the latest traveling exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota: Real Pirates: the Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship.

pirates 2 Wander Minnesota: Pirates On The Mississippi

(credit: Science Museum)

This is not just a kid’s exhibit — although what kid wouldn’t be captivated by all things pirate? — but is an exhibition put together by National Geographic and Arts & Exhibitions International, the team that brought in the hugely popular King Tut exhibit last year. The Pirates exhibit is also a true story, the tale of the Whydah, which began its life as a slave ship in the early 1700s but eventually converted into a pirate ship, becoming one of the most successful pirate ships during that time period.

pirates 3 Wander Minnesota: Pirates On The Mississippi

(credit: Science Museum)

The Whydah sank off Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago and disappeared until underwater explorer Barry Clifford discovered it in 1984. While the ship is still being excavated, the rich trove of items already discovered are available for viewing.

pirates 5 Wander Minnesota: Pirates On The Mississippi

(credit: Science Museum)

Not just riches, though; the exhibit includes weapons, the ship’s bell, rigging and tools, navigational tools, jewelry, clothing, and a variety of multimedia presentations to provide context. Visitors can not only see a scale model of the ship:

pirates 4 Wander Minnesota: Pirates On The Mississippi

(credit: Science Museum)

But will be able to walk through a re-created Whydah. They’ll also be able to try their hand at raising a pirate flag, tying sailor’s knots, and even touching some of the real pirate’s treasure.

The exhibit will also address some myths related to pirates, such as : “Walking the plank was a typical form of punishment by pirates.” True or false? Find out at the exhibit.

While you’re there, check out the newest Omnitheater film: Under the Sea.

pirates 6 Wander Minnesota: Pirates On The Mississippi

(credit: Science Museum)

Under the Sea takes viewers to exotic locations in the South Pacific, exploring the beautiful and colorful sea life there, while also examining the effect of climate change on the oceans.

There are plenty of special ways to enjoy Real Pirates. Rather not attend with lots of kids? Sign up for the Feb. 22 Social Science Night, a 21+ event that will be themed around Buccaneer’s Ball. Have a child who’d really love to celebrate a birthday in a pirate sort of way? Pirate birthday parties can be arranged for those ages 4-12. Interested in a more thorough historical, cultural and sociological view of pirates? Check out the six Thursday night lectures in the Real Pirates discussions with eminent guest speakers. Finally, the first and third Tuesdays of each month are Senior Tuesdays, with special discounts for senior citizens.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

Gallery: Real Pirates At Science Museum


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