EYE PATCHES, wooden legs, parrots and cutlasses are all trademark tools for pirates – the ocean rebels many regard as the ‘rock stars of the seven seas’.
Now budding young buccaneers can grab this gear for themselves and get ready to learn thanks to the new Horrible Histories Pirates exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The interactive experience boasted an action-packed unveiling yesterday as a costume-clad crew gave schoolchildren a sneak-peek of what to expect when it opens on Saturday.
Youngsters will be able to enjoy more than 30 activities and games geared at illuminating the life of pirates – from commanding a ship to battling it out with cannons and pistols.
And with parrots on each shoulder, it was the illustrator of the renowned Horrible Histories book series, Martin Brown, who launched the exhibition alongside Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, on Thursday.
‘Pirates are so much more than Hollywood tells us they are – they were far crueller then Hollywood can say, yet in other ways they were much more complicated,' Mr Brown said.
‘The great thing about the exhibition is it tells the whole story, but it’s interactive so you can play. As well as learning, it’s just a hoot.’
The exhibition began in Australia and will run in conjunction with publisher Scholastic.
Yesterday’s event saw children from St George’s Beneficial School in Portsea become the first in the UK to see it in action.
Teacher Heidi Martin said: ‘Children love to learn through doing things as well as through reading, so this is just what they need.
‘It’s a really hands-on environment so the children are learning through playing.’
Entry to Horrible Histories Pirates will be included in the Full Navy Ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is £31 per adult and £18.50 per child – with family tickets available.
Prof Tweddle said the exhibition will entertain crowds for the next two years.
‘What we’re trying to do with this exhibition is engage a younger family audience,’ he said.
‘If you come to the site there’s lots to see and lots to do, but kids need to let off steam.
‘This will enable them to let off steam in a way that is fun and educational.’
To learn more about horrible Histories Pirates or Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and to book tickets, go to historicdockyard.co.uk