Avast! A photo preview of Real Pirates at the DMNS

When you walk into the Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which opens today, the first thing you do is watch a short movie, one of those PBS-style hist-umentaries with the vaguely English-sounding narrator, the scrolling/zooming over photos and paintings and the occasional reenactment. You know the kind. After the movie's over, they let you into the actual exhibit -- and it's sort of like that movie fell out of the screen like in Voyage of the Dawn Treader and now you are actually inhabiting it.

The main attractions, of course, are the artifacts from the recovery of the Whydah, a slave-ship-turned-pirate-ship that sunk off the coast of Cape Cod some three hundred years ago, but there are about a million other things going on. Every few steps, there's an activity to do, a wax-sculpture scene, an actor hired to be a pirate and engage you in the kind of awkward conversation you're not sure how you're supposed to engage, kind of like when the clowns talk to you at the circus. There's a full-scale recreation of about half the ship that you walk through. There are tons of videos to watch. The sound effects never stop -- even the paintings have sound effects.

At the preview I went to last night, there weren't any children (it was very grown-up), but I can't imagine how overstimulated they're going to be when they show up this weekend. In the meantime, here are a handful of photos to give you an idea of what's on display, though they really can't do justice to the level of immersion happening here.

The bell of the Whydah.
The bell of the Whydah.
There are a lot of large paintings like this one in the exhibit. My friend Ben Dayton approves of this one.
There are a lot of large paintings like this one in the exhibit. My friend Ben Dayton approves of this one.
This is a pirate grenade. A grenade. Used by a pirate. Just think about that.
This is a pirate grenade. A grenade. Used by a pirate. Just think about that.
Pirate swords.
Pirate swords.
Pirate cannons.
Pirate cannons.
These pirate re-enactors roam the museum looking for people to have mildly awkward conversations with.
These pirate re-enactors roam the museum looking for people to have mildly awkward conversations with.
When the flash went off, this pirate went "what was that, a cannon?" My camera is a Canon. Good one, matey.
When the flash went off, this pirate went "what was that, a cannon?" My camera is a Canon. Good one, matey.
There were also a lot of wax sculptures where, when you went near them, a dialog would repeat over a speaker. This one, of a guy sawing off another guy's leg, was my favorite.
There were also a lot of wax sculptures where, when you went near them, a dialog would repeat over a speaker. This one, of a guy sawing off another guy's leg, was my favorite.
Checking out the booty.
Checking out the booty.
The booty.
The booty.
At the end, we learned about how it all was found with this mannequin sporting a wet-suit. Draw your own conclusions.
At the end, we learned about how it all was found with this mannequin sporting a wet-suit. Draw your own conclusions.

Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >