With fantastic costumes and a wealth of information, an exhibition on pirates has been drawing in adventure-loving children and their parents over the summer holidays.
Pirates! Fact and Fiction at Gosport Gallery has a range of items to see as well as hands-on, interactive activities for children to try.
The exhibition, organised by Hampshire Cultural Trust, takes visitors through the history of pirates as well as around the globe with information and models from Chinese pirates to North African barbary corsairs.
Display cabinets feature artefacts from the different eras, from the guns used to the shackles which were put on a pirate when they were caught and sentenced to death.
But the exhibition also has items from literature about pirates such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, as well as pirates from the big screen.
The outfit worn by Geoffrey Rush in Pirates Of The Caribbean is featured as one of the main attractions. But the movie outfits do not stop there, with the clothes worn by actors who were part of Captain Hook’s crew in the 2003 version of Peter Pan also featuring at the gallery.
Janet Owen, chief executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, says the movie outfits in particular have been a hit with the visitors.
‘The exhibition is yet another example of world-class history and culture being brought to people’s doorsteps in Hampshire,’ she says.
‘The movie costumes have been a real hit with visitors and the additional activities and events have made it fun and interactive for all the family.’
And families who have visited the gallery, on Gosport, High Street, have enjoyed the way it’s been put together and the mix of fun for children and knowledge for adults.
Jane Crehan visited with her grandson Alfie Panther.
The seven-year-old, from Lee-on-the-Solent, enjoyed trying on the hats including a traditional captain’s hat and a metal helmet worn by Vikings.
Alfie says: ‘I liked seeing the different items and the hats were fun to try on.
‘It was fun trying the games and guessing the different facts.’
Jane, also from Lee-on-the-Solent, adds that the activities for children were a real bonus.
‘He has loved trying the hands-on part of the exhibition,’ she says.
‘The Viking hat was an interesting piece and I think we were both surprised at how heavy it was.
‘It’s great for him to have something he is interested in on his doorstep and I definitely think more galleries of this sort should be in the area.’
Fellow grandmother Cherrie Gerathy agrees. She visited with her grandchildren Alicia and Benjamin and husband Kevin.
She says: ‘The children love learning about everything and they really enjoyed this exhibition.
‘It is very well done and for youngsters it’s lovely.
‘But my husband Kevin also had a good time because all the information is there so it’s good for the whole family.’
She adds: ‘Benjamin loved seeing the movie costumes, especially Peter Pan because he loves Captain Hook and his crew.’
Benjamin, aged five, says: ‘Captain Hook is my favourite. I liked seeing the costume and the cannon balls too.’
His sister, six-year-old Alicia adds: ‘I liked wearing the eye-patch and guessing all the fact or fiction games.’
Like the name of the exhibition, the gallery is full of questions relating to common beliefs about pirates.
Visitors have to guess if the beliefs are fact or fiction, including if they wore eye patches (fact), if they sent their enemies black spots (true) and if they sent people to walk the plank (fiction).
The exhibition has model ships and a range of weapons used from muskets to grenades and a pistol.
It also tells the history of the different types of pirates starting at the Romans and covering the Vikings, Golden Age pirates, Chinese pirates and the Wako Japanese pirates.
Each era has a costume to depict the typical dress of the pirates as well as information on how they started, their types of ship, where they attacked and what happened to them.
The information banners are full of easy-to-follow facts and colourful illustrations from famous paintings.
They also cover the types of ships and weapons used and the importance of the Spanish Main, which was a hunting ground for pirates.
But for brothers George and Henry Brown, they loved the dressing-up chest best. They visited with their mum Karen and grandmother Barbara Squires.
Karen says: ‘The boys really enjoyed it. They are quite into pirates at the moment and they were both keen to dress up like them.
‘It is great for them to come to experience an exhibition like this and it’s nice they can touch stuff and really interact with it.’
The exhibition is on until September 26 and Hampshire Cultural Trust is holding a Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 26. With a pop-up pirate trail, the day will get children to translate pirate phrases to win prizes.
Like the exhibition, the event is free and is from 10am until 4pm.
Other pirate-themed events were also held for the exhibition including a workshop for children under five who got to make hats and listen to stories.
Gosport Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
For more information visit hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk.