Best Pirate Museums in the U.S.

Did you know there are a number of pirate museums in the U.S.? Most of these museums are in Massachusetts but one is also located in Florida, both of which are places that have a rich pirate history.

Have you been to any of these museums? Leave a comment below and let us know which one you think is the best!

The following is a list of the best pirate museums:

St Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum:

Address: 12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL

Website: www.thepiratemuseum.com

Established in 1995, the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is a museum in St. Augustine, Florida that contains an extensive collection of pirate artifacts from around the world.

The museum is owned by retired team president of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers Pat Croce who has been collecting pirate artifacts for years and decided to open a museum to display these artifacts.

The museum features over authentic 800 artifacts and it is said to be the largest and most authentic collection of pirate artifacts ever displayed under one roof.

Some of these artifacts include an authentic Jolly Roger flag, Thomas Tew’s original treasure chest, which is the only known authentic pirate treasure chest in the world, an old “wanted” poster from the 1696 search for Captain Henry Every and Blackbeard’s original blunderbuss among others.

St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum in Florida
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum in Florida

The museum also includes artifacts uncovered when workers were digging to install a handicap-accessible ramp for the museum in 2010. The artifacts date back to the late 1600s and early 1700s and include pieces of pottery, a compass, knee buckles and part of a sword hanger.

If you would like to visit the museum and want to save money on tickets, check out this article about St. Augustine Pirate Museum discount tickets.

New England Pirate Museum:

Address: 274 Derby Street , Salem, Ma

Website: piratemuseum.com/pirate.html

The New England Pirate Museum is a museum in Salem, Mass dedicated to pirates that frequented New England.

The museum features an artifacts room that houses authentic pirate treasures, a replica dockside village, pirate ship and a pirate cave and wax figures of the various pirates who visited New England.

The tour of the museum takes about 20 to 30 minutes, during which you’ll learn about 60 pirates and view their artifacts and treasures.

Some of the artifacts on display at the museum include a pirate sword-pistol as well as other weapons and 18th century Spanish coins from a Spanish wreck off the coast of Salisbury Beach.

The museum has become a popular attraction in Salem and was named by Lonely Planet as one of the best things to do in Salem and was named by Parade Magazine as one of 26 best things to do in Salem.

Real Pirates:

Address: 285 Derby Street, Salem, Ma

Website: realpiratessalem.com

Established in 2021, Real Pirates is a pirate museum in Salem, Mass that features artifacts and stories about pirate Captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy and his ship the Whydah.

The artifacts on display at the attraction include coins, jewelry and a cannon retrieved from the shipwrecked Wydah, which was a slave ship that had been captured by Captain Bellamy but sank during a storm off the coast of Cape Cod in 1717.

The museum also features a Discovery Lab where you can learn about the preservation process being used to protect these artifacts, a complimentary pirate photo op and an audio tour narrated by famed underwater archeological explorer Barry Clifford, who discovered the Wydah shipwreck in 1984.

Whydah Pirate Museum:

Address; 674 MA-28, West Yarmouth, Ma

Website: www.discoverpirates.com

Established in 2016, the Whydah Pirate Museum is a pirate museum in West Yarmouth, on Cape Cod, that features thousands of artifacts recovered from the shipwrecked Whydah, which makes it the largest collection of pirate artifacts recovered from a single shipwreck in the world.

Some of these artifacts includes 18th century Spanish coins, pistols, buttons, buckles as well as items from the ship such as a bell, cannon and an anchor.

The self-guided tour of the museum takes about 1 to 1.5 hours during which visitors can explore various rooms filled with pirate artifacts.

The Whydah was a slave ship that had been captured by the pirate Captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy but then sank during a storm off the coast of Cape Cod in 1717.

The shipwreck was discovered in 1984 by underwater archeological explorer Barry Clifford, making it the only fully authenticated Golden Age pirate shipwreck ever discovered.

Clifford has only recovered about 15 percent of the artifacts from the shipwreck, so new artifacts are always being added to the museum as they are recovered.

Sources:
“Your most epic Halloween weekend starts with the 26 best things to do in Salem, Massachusetts.” Parade Magazine, 27 Oct. 2021, parade.com/1282839/parade/things-to-do-in-salem-massachusetts/
Hipple, Annika. “The best things to do in Salem, Massachusetts.” Lonely Planet, 6 Oct. 2021, lonelyplanet.com/articles/top-things-to-do-in-salem-massachusetts
Spray, Aaron. “Argh, Matey: If You Find Yourself In New England, Consider Visiting The Pirate Museum.” The Travel, 16 Oct. 2021, thetravel.com/is-the-new-england-pirate-museum-worth-it/
Gale, Natalie. “Real Pirates Museum Brings Authentic Pirate Treasure and Stores to Salem.” North Shore Magazine, 8 April. 2022, nshoremag.com/faces-places/real-pirates-museum-brings-authentic-pirate-treasure-and-stories-to-salem/
Veness, Susan and Simon. “Real Pirates opens in Salem with a display of authentic pirate treasure.” Attractions Magazine, 2 April. 2022, attractionsmagazine.com/real-pirates-opens-in-salem-with-a-display-of-authentic-pirate-treasure/
Seiffert, Don.“New pirate museum set to open in Salem.” Boston Business Journal, 8 Apr. 2022, bizjournals.com/boston/news/2022/04/08/new-pirate-museum-set-to-open-in-this-mass-city.html
“The Perfect Places for Pirate Fans Across Massachusetts.” Robert Paul Properties, robertpaul.com/blog/rp-top-10-perfect-places-for-pirate-fans-across-massachusetts/

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