Real Pirates

March 6, 2009 4:57:08 AM PST
Experience the classical age of piracy come to life at The Field Museum in the exhibition Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship. You'll discover the perils and privileges of pirate life as you explore more than 200 artifacts recovered from the wreck of the Whydah-the first fully authenticated pirate ship ever to be discovered in U.S. waters. One of the most technologically advanced vessels of her day, the Whydah was captured on her maiden voyage as a slaver by legendary pirate Sam Bellamy and his crew. After a few alterations and a quick hoist of the Jolly Roger, the Whydah became the flagship of Bellamy's flotilla, leading raids throughout Caribbean waters and up the Atlantic coastline. Then on April 26, 1717, the perfect storm put a period to her pirating days, and the Whydah sank with most of her crew aboard-as well as the bounty from more than 50 captured ships. Almost 300 years later, underwater explorer Barry Clifford and his team managed to locate the wreck of the Whydah and painstakingly unearthed her treasures from the ocean floor. Organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International, the exhibition examines the rich history of Caribbean trade routes during the 18th century and the link between the slave trade and piracy. You'll encounter compelling true stories of those who lived aboard the Whydah and learn about the forces that shaped their world. Throughout the 8,400-square-foot interactive exhibition, you'll get chance to experience pirate life by hoisting the skull-and-crossbones, tying pirate knots, learning how to fire a cannon, and more. Treasure chests of gold and jewelry, as well as armories of cannons and swords, let you understand how these men lived and died in the "Golden Age of Piracy."

Real Pirates
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Now through Oct. 25