Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pirates Come to Pioneer Village in Salem!

Saturday, August 1, Pioneer Village—a recreation of 1630 Salem—will be invaded by a troupe of 20 pirates and wenches between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m Fortunately this pirate entourage is no more dangerous than any other group of guest interpreters wishing to present history in a dynamic way. The Gordon College Institute of Public History, which manages Pioneer Village, is welcoming a group of guest interpreters to use the site as the venue for a pirate attack. “A coastal colonial village has been temporarily taken hostage by a pirate crew,” said David Goss, codirector of the Institute of Public History.

Pioneer Village is a living history museum located in Forest River Park, just one mile from Salem’s city center. Admission fees have been altered for this special pirate event, featuring a discounted price of $5 for adults, students, seniors, and free for children under the age of six. “Pirates at the Village portrays what a village would be like if pirates ran it,” said Goss.

Throughout the afternoon pirates will perform a number of family friendly discussions and demonstrations including period cooking, blacksmith demonstrations, music, and fortune telling by the casting of old bones. Children will have an opportunity to sign up as crew members as well. For those hoping to acquire their own booty, a range of 17th-century pirate and colonial goods will be sold at the Pioneer Village gift shop.

Additional events will include banishment to the stocks for a few unruly pirates and the careful guardianship of stolen treasure. As pirates revel over their loot and serenade one another with an occasional sea shanty, visitors will gain a better feel for the lifestyle of their burly comrades. Pirates at the Village also conveys the history behind pirating.

While pirates have long been considered infamous renegades and hooligans,Pirates at the Village hopes to communicate the surprising truths about pirates—such as their staunchly democratic society and invention of the first form of health insurance. Pirates at the Village is also relevant to local history. New England was a prime recruiting ground for pirates due to shipbuilding. Goss said a tremendous amount of privateer and pirate activity occurred in Beverly, Salem and Marblehead. For more information visit

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