Pirate museum idea floated in Hampton

From Weblogs Dailypress

Arrrrr this old idea of transforming Hampton into a pirate destination seems to have got a few landlubbers in a stew, leading to the inevitable calls for folks to walk the plank.

The Daily Press revealed this week the fondness for the pirate concept expressed by Yaromir Steiner, the Peninsula Town Center guru who has been brought in to wield a big cutlass to the dusty old treasure map that was the Downtown Hampton Master Plan, as well as that of historian John Quarstein.

Steiner was brought in for a fee of $7,500 a month - for an initial six month period last year to work on a new vision for the downtown.

The pirate museum concept was mentioned in a vision statement report in April produced by Steiner, but so were other ideas such as an art museum, a community art center, a foundry and glass blowing workshops. However, Steiner dwelled on the pirate concept at some length during a speech to the Hampton Downtown Development Partnership last year.

Quarstein has produced a more detailed plan for a pirate museum in the present Circuit Court building, which is likely to be vacated when a new circuit court is built in Hampton.

Quarstein is convinced of the pulling power of the pirate theme..

"Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Robert Barre's Peter Pan were released, adults and children alike have been drawn to pirate tales," he said in a report on his concept.

"Movies like Captain Blood and Pirates of the Caribbean always have drawn crowds to enjoy the mythical tales of piracy. Hampton's annual Blackbeard festival draws over 70,000 people into downtown Hampton.

"Obviously, an effective planned museum presenting pirate and pirate hunter stories would bring visitors to be entertained by this learning experience. When coupled with the existing Hampton History Museum and the Virginia Air and Space Center, the Chesapeake Bay Pirate Museum would extend the time travelers, civilians, and students stay in downtown Hampton."

Not everyone is as keen on pirates, it seems.

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