There’s a Pirate Museum Coming to Cape Cod

It will feature a replica of Whydah Galley, the first pirate ship discovered in North American waters.

Barry Clifford

Photo via AP

Bust out your Jolly Rogers and eye patches. A new pirate museum is reportedly in the works in West Yarmouth that will include a full-scale model of the Whydah Galley, the first pirate ship ever discovered in North American waters.

The museum, which the Cape Cod Times reports is expected fill the vacant ZooQuarium—some type of defunct tourist trap that reportedly hosted wrestling bears and albino alligators—is the brain child of Barry Clifford, an explorer and treasure hunter who discovered the Whydah Galley. It’s believed that the Whydah Galley went down off the coast of Wellfleet in 1717.

Clifford told the Cape Cod Times that the 12,000-square-foot ZooQuarium building is a perfect site. Its high ceilings can accommodate the 30-foot-tall Whydah Galley replica, and there will be a working archaeology laboratory so visitors can watch experts extract artifacts—coins, jewelry, and bones, among other items that get lodged in ship wrecks.

Past coverage of Clifford has depicted him as a bit of a wildcard. “The pirate prince to some, the underwater antichrist to others,” Outside magazine wrote of the explorer. Last July, The Washington Post published a detailed take on Clifford’s very public and very vocal clashes with the United Nations Cultural Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

His most recent beef with UNESCO, according to WaPo, centers on a whether Clifford discovered the Adventure Galley, a 17th century pirate ship captained by William Kidd. Clifford claimed that while he was diving a wreck off the coast of Madagascar he believed to be the Adventure Galley, the structure began to collapse and a silver ingot clunked him over the head. The artifact, Clifford claimed, was proof that it was the Adventure Galley.

UNESCO quickly countered Clifford’s claims. The chunk of silver turned out to be 95 percent lead, and the agency said he had no evidence that the wreck was Kidd’s vessel. UNESCO’s stance apparently enraged Clifford, according to The Washington Post.

Hours after the revelation, Clifford was livid.

“Nobody can conclude an investigation in three g——– days,” Clifford railed over the phone, in one of several conversations with The Post.

He’s convinced, he said, that this is both a personal and political vendetta against him as the public face of private-sector archaeology.

The Cape Cod native also said this: “UNESCO is heavily anti-American and anti-British.”

While UNESCO has its issues with Clifford, there’s no arguing the importance of his 1984 discovery of the Whydah Galley.

The new museum is expected to open in July.