New pirate museum offers history and interaction

By Isabella Pazmino |

From swords and daggers to simulated canon firing, The Pirate and Treasure Museum invites tourists and residents aboard this November, on a historical journey.

The Pirate and Treasure Museum not only takes its patrons back in time, when pirates ruled the seas. It also commemorates an important historical period, The Golden Age of Piracy, which impacted St. Augustine as well as the rest of the world.

Pirates such as Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles, to name a few, plundered the town of St. Augustine, leaving behind destruction, terror and a legacy of outrageous stories about their piracy life.

According to the Pirates and Treasure Museum Web Site, the stories of legendary pirates in historical St. Augustine are told through fun, interactive ways.

This museum includes the largest collection of artifacts in the world, including an authentic Jolly Rogers flag, a real pirate chest from India, an interactive world map and a touch screen book of pirates. It harbors treasures found by Florida Department of Historical Resources, an exhibit of authentic Hollywood props used in pirate movies since the 1930s and an audio experience from The Disney Immagineers, in which patrons can hear and feel Blackbeard’s last battle.

“It’s an interactive, immersive, hands on museum,” Cindy Stavely, Director of sales and marketing, said.

Owner Pat Croce has collected artifacts for over thirty years. Croce’s devotion to piracy started as a child, Stavely said. “His passion for pirates began when he watched Captain Blood,” she said.

Croce opened a museum five years ago called Pirate Soul in Key West, Fla. On July 31, he closed his museum and decided to open a bigger one on San Marco Avenue, seconds from the Castillo de San Marcos
National Monument.

According to Stavely, one of the reasons the Spanish Crown authorized the construction of the fort was to protect the city from pirate attacks.

Stavely got involved with the museum in the beginning of July. She helped move all the artifacts from the Pirate Soul Museum to the one in St. Augustine.

While helping to move all the artifacts, Stavely learned about the history behind piracy and was fascinated by it. She said she truly enjoys working with The Pirate and Treasure Museum. “I am privileged to be a part of it,” she said.

Opening day has yet to be decided but according to Stavely, there will be a 20% discount for St. Johns County residents as well for Flagler College students once the museum opens its doors to the public.

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