Real Pirates

National Geographic’s Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship opened last weekend at the Science Museum of Minnesota to huge fanfare, and I’m thrilled to give you a sneak-peek. The exhibit boasts artifacts from the only authenticated pirate shipwreck found in U.S. waters – the former slave ship Whydah, captained by Black Sam Bellamy. There are 17 actors portraying a slew of real pirates from 1717 (although the fearsome Anne Bonny and Mary Read are triple-cast; and I’m the only bird to play both women). The pirates represented served aboard the Whydah, save for Blackbeard and the “ladies” who were contemporaries of Bellamy and his crew.

This galley, and the scurvy knaves aboard it, are not to be missed. Dead serious.

And without further ado – a tease of the treasures that await you: 


  Opening weekend lines to enter the Real Pirates exhibition. But in true piratical fashion, you'll be passing up these lines because you'll have plundered the tickets online first.



   Captain Blackfrog's Tavern.



Anne Bonny challenging you to a game of sheep's knuckles, Passage, or Ship, Captain, Crew. She fully intends to win all your rum. And if she doesn't - well - she's armed.



Recovered flintlock pistols.



Grenades. And the precursor to the modern stinkbomb. No lie.



The Whydah at port, waiting for you to sign the Articles and step aboard.



Anne Bonny, public menace.



The Whydah's hold.



Thomas Davis and Hendrick Quintor at work below decks.



Pieces of Eight. Many, many Pieces of Eight. Yes, it's all real.



Sufficiently enticed, mateys?  As ye should be.