A band of pirates took over New Walk Museum at the weekend to present a great family event.
Armed with a skull and crossbones flag, we began by following the trail to Treasure Island. We solved clues about pirates around the world, and pirate-related fiction. My grandchildren, aged 9 and 7, were fascinated to learn about Mary Read and Anne Bonny - they'd previously believed that all pirates were men. On reaching Treasure Island we found our next challenge was to build a pirate ship to take home or to launch in the ‘sea’ around Treasure Island. Lots of experts were on hand to help with any construction problems. After all that hard work, we enjoyed some quiet time in the reading area where there were plenty of pirate books to share.
A highlight of our visit was the storytelling session with Ruth Fraser. Ruth told stories about real-life pirate, Grace O’Malley. We heard how Grace, aged 9, dressed as a boy and secretly joined her father’s ship. Once her father realised how skilful and hardworking she was, he allowed her to continue to sail with his ship until she was sixteen. In later years, as queen of the O’Malley clan, Grace was granted a private meeting with Elizabeth I at the Palace of Greenwich. Grace successfully negotiated the release of her son and the return of her lands in return for supporting England in battles abroad.
This was a lovely family event, and has inspired my grandchildren to find out more about real-life pirates.
About the reviewer
Karen Powell is a grandmother of two, an ex-primary teacher, and is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.
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