top of page

SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure

Almost everything and anything made by the hand of man once traveled by sea. Underwater expect the unexpected.


Shipwreck finds tend to be both far more intact than on land, made from a rich variety of organic and inorganic materials from ceramics (intact pots, not sherds) and glass to leather, wood (including the hulls themselves), gold and silver. Sunken artifacts saturated with corrosive salts can crack and be destroyed without treatment. Saltwater environments especially accelerate the corrosion of most metals, especially iron and copper compounds.


First-aid conservation starts as soon as an artifact lands on the research ship and may. On deck finds are documented, photographed, catalogued and processed to halt corrosion. Salts must be washed out of all objects and metals and wood stabilized. Our shipwreck finds are conserved to the highest standards in our dedicated lab and in cases – for some iron cannon, bronze bells, leather goods needing freeze-drying and paper letters – are outsourced for optimum treatment.

SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure, brings real shipwreck treasures and the technology used to recover them to the surface! Find out what it’s like to be a shipwreck explorer, the captain of a sinking ship or a pirate on the run with hands-on activities, vivid graphic displays and authentic artifacts.

The exhibit features the compelling stories behind some of the world's most famous shipwrecks as well as pirates, their treasure and historical artifacts. Discover more than 500 priceless artifacts recovered from famous shipwrecks including real gold and silver treasure recovered from thousands of feet deep.

Through the use of multi-media and innovative technology, the interactive exhibits merge elements of science, technology, history, marine archaeology, weather and navigation. The experience includes piloting a virtual submersible over the Republic shipwreck, operating a robotic manipulator arm to recover coins, and battling the forces of nature in a 75-mph hurricane tube.

​Seen by over two million guests, SHIPWRECK! has been on display at many large venues across North America including showcases in New York City, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Las Vegas, San Antonio and Tampa. 

bottom of page