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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2012
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Kim Ramsden / Chris Bauer, PR Co-Directors, Science Museum of Minnesota, (651) 221-9423
Whydah discoverer Barry Clifford to present lecture,
Tickets are still available for May 24 lecture
St. Paul, Minn. – On Thursday, May 24, underwater explorer Barry Clifford, whose team discovered the wreck of the pirate ship, the Whydah, off the coast of Cape Cod, will return to the Twin Cities to present The History and Recovery of the Whydah for the Science Museum of Minnesota's ongoing Real Pirates lecture series. The Whydah, the only authenticated pirate ship to be found in U.S. waters, is the centerpiece of the Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship exhibition, which runs through Labor Day.
Clifford, a former high school teacher and football coach, started a salvage‐diving business in the mid‐1970s, and between 1974 and 1984 conducted dive‐related work, including underwater construction, oil‐spill control and contract sea‐rescue. During this period, he also utilized historical research, remote‐sensing techniques and underwater surveys to locate numerous shipwrecks around Cape Cod.
In 1984, Clifford made world headlines with his discovery of the remains of the Whydah, wrecked in a storm off Cape Cod in 1717. Her treasures are still being recovered today with the help of Clifford's 75‐foot vessel, Vast Explorer. With more than 100,000 artifacts recovered and conserved to date, 200 of which are included in the Real Pirates exhibition, this project has vastly expanded our understanding of piracy in the 18th century.
Barry Clifford's lecture, The History and Recovery of the Whydah, will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 in the Science Museum's Auditorium. Tickets are $12 per person ($10 per Science Museum member) and can be purchased via the Science Museum's Call Center at (651) 221‐9444.
Teye Ba ring to find a home in Real Pirates
Gold was very common in West Africa in the 18th century, when the Whydah was active as a transport ship for slaves between Africa and the New World. "Teye" and "Ba" were both common Senegalese names during this period, as well. Thus, Clifford and his team believe that the Teye Ba ring belonged either to an African slave trader or a slave who became a pirate. Along with only a few other pieces in the exhibition, the ring represents the closest researchers have come to tying ownership of an object from the shipwreck to a specific person.
Clifford and his team will continue to study the ring and other items recovered from the wreck, but they are excited to gain insight into the life of an individual who would otherwise have been lost to history, and thus into the little‐known democratic subculture of piracy.
Real Pirates Visitor Information
Real Pirates is organized by National Geographic and Arts & Exhibitions International (AEI).
The Science Museum of Minnesota serves more than one million visitors each year with its hands‐on exhibits, breathtaking giant screen films, special events, and unparalleled education programs. It is located at 120 West Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul. For specific directions, parking information, hours, show times and ticket information, call (651) 221‐9444 or visit www.smm.org.
Real Pirates exhibition website - www.smm.org/pirates