Pirates have arrived have the Milwaukee Public Museum. Real Pirates, the new exhibition at the downtown museum, began its tour last month, achieving rave reviews into the New Year. Spokespeople for the company that owns the exhibit, Premier Exhibitions, told reporters that the goal of the show is to distract viewers from the traditional movie expectations of old-time pirates, and instead tell the story of true pirate life on the high-seas.
Using over 150 artifacts recovered from the sunken pirate vessel Whydah, Real Pirates details not only the plunders of the eighteenth century men who worked the ship, but also the mundane daily lifestyles of those men.
Sunk in a spring nor'easter, the Whydah was the first authentic pirate vessel to be discovered in American waters. A replica made-up to recreate the look of the ship on that April day houses the exhibition, where visitors are free to wander through rooms and chambers filled with treasures ranging from gambling die and cards to real pirate booty.
Goers will also revel in the deep history of the Whydah, which was one of the most technologically advanced slave transports of the time, before being overrun by Sam Bellamy in February 1717. The original chains and quarters where these slaves were held are well preserved in the exhibition.
Known as Black Sam, Bellamy's personal background is also highlighted in Real Pirates. After having fallen in love with a wealthy women in Cape Cod, Bellamy is said to have become a pirate to plunder enough money to one day marry her.
Whydah Was Loaded When It Went Down
And a plundering he did. When the Whydah went down, just a month after becoming Bellamy's flagship, it had already mustered the treasures of fifty plundered ships. That treasure was discovered fully intact with the ship's remains in 1984, and has now become known as one of the most representative collections of world currency from that era.
The exhibit will run through May twenty-seventh at the Milwaukee Public Museum located at 800 Wells Street. Ticket prices are lowered on the weekends, and museum admission is included in the purchase price of the exhibition tickets.