Ruffians, Scoundrels, and Buccaneers: Pirates Throughout the Ages

The following blog post was written by Joseph, Special Collections & Archives Scholar in Residence and Guest Curator of our latest exhibit Ruffians, Scoundrels, and Buccaneers: Pirates Throughout the Ages.

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My name is Joseph and I am 11 years old. I started coming to Special Collections with my mom when I was between 5 and 6 years old. My mom is a graduate student who does research and studies in Special Collections. I often come with her and read or do homework now that I am a little older. I love to read and have seen many amazing texts at Special Collections. I have even used some for research.

joseph2.jpgI have always admired the exhibits next door to Special Collections that are displayed in the exhibit room. One day earlier this year, I thought I would like to try making one. I had just finished reading a story and writing a paper about Blackbeard, so I thought, “What better than an exhibit about pirates?” I love pirates, and I’ve learned quite a bit about them, so I began working on the basics. When I had prepared some notes and drawings, I talked to Dean Katie about it. She thought that with some work, it could be a great exhibit.

That’s when the work really began. While Mr. Rory and I selected material, Ms. Hannah worked on the schedule, the jobs, and all the other basics. Then Ms. Lisa helped me with pulling books to use, while Mr. Rory and I worked on writing the captions. We also had to select material and decide what needed to be digitalized. At last, installation day arrived! Everyone worked really hard. Each person was assigned a case to assemble after deciding what part of the exhibit would be displayed in each case. Once the materials were distributed the materials had to arranged properly. Finally, the captions had to put in and Mr. Rory finished by writing the last few captions for added material.

joseph1In one of the tall cases it was decided that my Halloween pirate costume, which was handmade by my grandmother, would be displayed. Putting the exhibit together was harder than I thought it to be. It took many, many weeks of planning and lots of hard work to install, but it was well worth it. I am very happy with the results, and hope to help with many more exhibits at Special Collections.

Pirates are definitely amazing. They are known for being ruthless, dirty cutthroats that mercilessly burnt towns to the ground, driving the Royal Navy crazy. But which pirate stories are truthful, and which are fiction?

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This exhibit features true accounts of historical pirates, as well as fictional stories. While fiction can be very entertaining, the truth about pirates is just as fascinating, although it’s fun to see what people imagine about pirates too! Pirates are important to Florida as well – you can learn more about the story of José Gaspar, also known as Gasparilla, who operated in the Florida waters, and Ned Buntline, who wrote pirate stories set in Florida.

We hope you now see why pirates are so awesome, and you come see all the great material in “Ruffians, Scoundrels, and Buccaneers,” selected from the holdings of FSU Special Collections & Archives and Strozier Library.

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