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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: April 23, 2018

Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers!

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Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers the South Carolina State Museum’s traveling exhibit will make patrons avast (that’s stop in pirate lingo) and gasp as the world of pirates comes alive.

Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers

In commemoration of the 300th anniversary the death of the notorious Blackbeard and the 19th Annual Blackbeard Festival, the exhibit Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers, on loan from the South Carolina State Museum, tells the story of Blackbeard, who blockaded Charleston Harbor in 1718 prior to his death in North Carolina, along with the stories of many other pirates.

The exhibit will thrill those who have always been fascinated by these desperadoes of the seas. It will dispel a number of popular myths about pirates, such as that they made their victims walk the plank, and used phrases such as ‘arrrgh,’ and ‘matey,’ which are fictions of Hollywood. This exhibit will also address the problem of modern piracy dispelling another popular myth that pirates disappeared a long time ago. 

When approached by North Carolina merchants seeking help in breaking up piracy along the Outer Banks, Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood sent the Royal Navy, under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard, to capture Blackbeard. After the pirate was killed in a battle off the coast of North Carolina on November 22, 1718, Lieutenant Maynard had his head removed and hung from the bowsprit of his sloop. Oral tradition holds that on arrival in Virginia, the head was hung from a pole at the mouth of the Hampton River as a warning to others who might be tempted by piracy. The head remained for some time and the site continues to be known as Blackbeard’s Point today.

This exhibit was developed by the South Carolina State Museum with research, collaboration and assistance from the North Carolina Museum of History, the Queen Anne’s Revenge Project of the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology, and the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers continues through September 2, 2018.

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