Blog of the Collections Department

Pirates Pack the Park

As many already know, The Mariners’ Museum is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for “Largest Gathering of Pirates”, which currently belongs to Hastings, England.  We have spread the word as far and wide as we can in hopes of making this event as successful as possible, so I decided to write a little blog about some of our objects to further our pirate cause.  To learn more about our Pirate event, including what to do if you would like to be involved, you can visit our website HERE.  Also, as an added bonus, admission to the museum will only be $5 that day.  Admission to the Pirate event will be free, but be sure to bring money for food, drinks and souvenirs!

Now onto some of our pirate objects!

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The above flintlock pistol, ca 1720, is called a Queen Ann turn-off pistol and was made by Robert Brazier of London.  While we don’t know who may have used this particular pistol, it certainly puts me in mind of something a pirate would use, especially the decorative face on the butt of the handle, which is kind of terrifying.  I love it when weapons are beautiful because it is generally such a stark contrast to their purpose.

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The two pictures above represent a number of movie posters in our collection, many of which were used, including these two, in our 2006 exhibition Swashbuckler:  The Romance of the Pirate.  I remember seeing this exhibition, I was volunteering at the museum at the time, and thinking it was very interesting and quite a lot of fun.  We also have a poster from my all-time favorite pirate movie, Muppet Treasure Island.  Gotta love those Muppets and Tim Curry!  And as one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies came out the same time as the exhibition (I believe the second one, Dead Man’s Chest), we also had a poster from the movie.  I even have a cardboard cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow in my office and it is a favorite of the ladies around here.

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The sea chest above is another item that we can’t say ever belonged to a pirate, but it certainly looks like something you would find buried treasure in!  The piece is very beautiful and I love to show it off to guests on behind-the-scenes tours.  The piece is an iron chest or strongbox, ca 1675-1725, and was very likely made in Germany.  The locking mechanism is located underneath a decorative covering (visible in picture) that shows two beautiful peacocks.  The key would fit on the top of the lid.  We no longer close this magnificent beast as it requires a lot of effort, and a specialist, to get it unlocked and back open.  It has been used in a number of pirate exhibitions, at our museum and elsewhere.

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These last two photos show two very different, and yet similarly colored, objects.  The first image is a tin toy pirate with a wind up key in the back.  When wound up, his left eye blinks and he brings his telescope up to his right eye.  I find tin toys to be a lot of fun, so I think it is great that we have so many in the collection.  The second image is a print showing the 19th century actor Mr. O. Smith portraying Blackbeard.  For information on Mr. O. Smith, you can click HERE.  The colors in this piece really draw me to it.

Of course this is only a sample of the pirate related objects in our collection, but it would be a very long post if I were to include everything.  I doubt we will have another pirate exhibition in the near future, but there will be everything piratey that one could hope for at our Pirate event, so don’t forget to check out the details and join.  Help us break the Guinness World Record!

 

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