Jennifer Pace Robinson

Treasures from Capt. Kidd

By Cathy Kightlinger - Indy Star


Visitors today at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis got their first glimpse of one of three "treasures" after a large crate was opened, unveiling remnants from Captain Kidd's 17th-century ship.

The ship's cannon and other artifacts will be on display during "Treasures of the Earth," a collaborative exhibition between the museum and National Geographic. It will open in 2011 at the museum.

In December 2007, an underwater archaeology team from Indiana University -- led by Charles Beeker, IU's director for Underwater Science, announced the discovery of remnants from Captain Kidd's ship, which was made 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic. The cannon has been submerged underwater at IU, where it will remain until it moves to the museum.

"I could have it squirreled away at my laboratory at IU," Beeker said about the cannon. "But by bringing it to the Children's Museum, we're going to have a very broad audience of people that can come see this."

The cannon will be submerged in a tank of water inside the exhibit, allowing visitors to watch the process used to slowly clean encrusted materials off of it, said Jennifer Pace Robinson, vice president of experience development and family learning at the museum.

"We really want families to come in and feel the thrill of discovery, but (also) that they are part of the archaeological process," said Pace Robinson, who is in the Dominican Republic this week getting ideas on how to replicate excavation activities for the exhibit, and learning how to care for the cannon.

"Kids will have some of the excitement of being at a pirate shipwreck site, and we'll be able to replicate that in the exhibit for people who aren't able to come down to the Dominican Republic and see it first hand," Pace Robinson said.


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