Shipwreck! exhibit debuts at Discovery Place

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 2, 2009

Guests can dive into the world of underwater exploration when “Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure” opens at Discovery Place Saturday, July 4. The exhibit continues through Jan. 31, 2010.
The museum’s newest exhibition comes directly from Odyssey Marine Exploration, the world leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration and will be showcased in the museum’s newly renovated traveling exhibition hall.
Charlotte is the fifth destination of Odyssey’s multi-media traveling exhibition, which blends historic artifacts, sunken treasure and hands-on, educational, interactive elements. Visitors can plunge into the experience, the research archaeological recovery and conservation involved in the quest for deep-sea knowledge and treasures.
The exhibit will take visitors on a thrilling adventure thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean and hundreds of years back in time. The nearly 11,000 square-foot exhibition features hundreds of artifacts recovered form actual Odyssey deep-ocean
The exhibit is free with paid museum admission.
The exhibition also displays artifacts from the “Blue China,” which contains the remains of a 17th century unidentified American coastal trader and a 17th century Spanish shipwreck.
The spotlight of the exhibition is the ST Republic, American’s most-famous civil War-era shipwreck. The ship sank during a hurricane off the coast of Georgia in 1865. Discovered again in the summer of 2003 nearly 1,700 feet below the surface of the Atlantic, the recovery effort became the world’s most extensive deep ocean archaeological excavation. More than 51,000 gold and silver coins were recovered, along with approximately 14,000 additional Civil War-era artifacts.
Visitors can also see authentic artifacts from Queen Anne’s Revenge, believed to be the ship sailed by North Carolina’s notorious Blackbeard. The shipwreck was discovered along the North Carolina coast at Beaufort Inlet in 1996. These artifacts are on loan from the North Carolina museum of History in Raleigh which is now featuring “Knights of the Black Flag” exhibition through January 2010.
A featured section in the exhibit is “World of Pirates,” where families can explore pirate lore, legend and facts by creating their own pirate, learning pirate skills, finding out what treasures pirates valued most, discovering stories about the most infamous pirates including North Carolina’s most notorious pirate, Blackbeard.
In “Hurricane Experience,” visitors can step into the hurricane chamber and experience the force of hurricane winds.
Visitors can also try their hand at operating a giant manipulator arm to pick up coins.
Visitors can also see “Under the Sea” the IMAX Experience. Narrated by Jim Carrey, this deep sea adventure transports moviegoers to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations on earth and allows them to experience face to face encounters with some of the mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea.