By CAROLANNE MURRAY
June 17, 2013
Ahoy! “Real Pirates” are taking over the Grand Gallery at Union Station beginning June 22.
Union Station is welcoming the National Geographic and Premier Exhibitions exhibit, “Real Pirates,” which features the story of the real pirate ship, the Whydah, the pirates that worked aboard and the more than 200 artifacts from the ship itself.
The pirate ship, which held more than 50 ships’ plundered treasures and a crew of 145 men, wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod on April 26, 1717, after a deadly storm sunk the ship and left only two members of the crew alive. In 1984, underwater explorer Barry Clifford discovered the vessel’s remains and recovered much of the ship’s treasures and plundered booty.
According to Union Station Kansas City Director of Strategic Marketing Joy Torchia, the exhibit provides information many locals may not know.
“It’s an intriguing exhibit. That story has not been told much in this part of the country,” she said. “This exhibit tells the history of the actual pirate ship and toward the end it talks about the actual preservation of the artifacts shown.”
The exhibit also features a replica of the ship that visitors can explore to receive a better understanding of pirate ships. Along with the replica, more than 200 artifacts, including cannons, coins, weapons and jewelry recovered from the Whydah will be shown.
Real Pirates also allows guests to talk to the members of the Whydah crew. With help from a local theater troupe, visitors can converse with crew members and discover how Captain “Black Sam” Bellamy got his name and why some called him the “Prince of Pirates.” They can decide if surgeon James Ferguson worked aboard the ship willingly or if other circumstances were involved in his employment. They can chat with the youngest pirate ever known, John King, and question him on why at the mere age of eight he threatened to kill his mother if she did not let him become a pirate.
The exhibit will be available to the public from June 22 to Jan. 5. Viewing times are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Regular tickets are $20/person.