Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship


The classical age of piracy will come to life in Real PiratesOpening October 18, 2014.

Real Pirates tells the true story of the Whydah – a pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago. The exhibition features treasure chests filled with coins from all over the world, including authentic coins that visitors can touch, pirate dress items, daily objects used aboard the ship, jewelry, and technically advanced weaponry of the time – 18th century cannon, pistols and swords. These artifacts were painstakingly recovered from the ocean floor by underwater explorer Barry Clifford and his team over the past two and a half decades.  One of the most striking artifacts is a replica of the ship’s bell, inscribed “Whydah Galley 1716,” which was used to authenticate the shipwreck site as that of the Whydah.

Real Pirates is a touring exhibition organized by National Geographic and Premier Exhibitions, Inc.

Exhibition highlights:

  • After looting more than 50 ships, the Whydah sank off the coast of Cape Cod in a violent storm nearly 300 years ago
  • Real Pirates will have authentic chests of coins, jewelry, cannons, pistols and a replica of the actual ship that visitors can board
  • Real Pirates will provide visitors with the history and context of the economic, social and political circumstances of the early 18th Century
  • The exhibition will be enjoyable for both kids and adults





Adults $17

Seniors $16 (62 and older)

Children $12 (3-17)

Children under 2 are free

*includes general admission



Adults $12

Seniors $11 (62 and older)

Children $10 (3-17)


10325204_10203418649599404_4290756082255625007_nJoin the GRPM in celebrating International Talk like a Pirate Day on Friday, September 19!

Visit the Museum dressed in your favorite pirate costume to enter to win 2 tickets to the exhibition Real Pirates - opening October 18. Participants will also receive a pirate telescope, while supplies last.


Members of the GRPM are invited to see the exhibition early on a special afternoon during the opening weekend.

  • Friday, October 17 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Limited tickets available, please call 616.929.1700 to reserve yours today.

Throughout the weekend there will be special pirate themed activities, pirate appearances, and more. Wear your favorite pirate gear and get into the spirit!


Be ready for a rich and exciting experience that engages visitors from their first step into the exhibit. Young visitors are especially enthralled, drawn to the authentic artifacts presented in a range of media. The exhibit may be viewed from many different perspectives and thus lends itself naturally to interdisciplinary studies. Some of the content areas you will discover embedded in the exhibit include: geography, history, and social studies; science and technology; art and music; language arts; math and measurement.

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  • Media Place Partners