Blackbeard's secrets travel to Onslow libraries

By Jannette Pippin - EncToday

Whether it’s a little bit of gold dust or a massive 8-foot cannon, recovering artifacts from the shipwreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge and conserving each piece in the lab is only part of the excitement for conservator Wendy Welsh.

Welsh loves sharing the story of each piece of history linked to the shipwreck presumed to be the flagship of pirate Blackbeard and explaining how the QAR team has worked to recover and preserve artifacts that have been resting nearly 300 years on the sea floor.

“I love talking to folks, and I like to get people as excited about (the project) as I am,” she said. “It’s such a North Carolina treasure.”

And for Welsh, who grew up in Onslow County and graduated from Swansboro High School, there’s extra excitement in being able to share her stories with a home crowd.

Welsh will be visiting each of the four libraries in Onslow County as part of the “Make Waves at the Library” Summer Reading Program, coordinated by the State Library of North Carolina, according a N.C. Department of Cultural Resources news release.

She will speak at the main library in Jacksonville Saturday at 2 p.m.; Sneads Ferry on Wednesday at 10 a.m.; Swansboro branch on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.; and Richlands branch on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Welsh said the talks will be age-appropriate for youth audiences but also interesting to adults.

She’ll give a little history about Blackbeard and background on underwater archaeology and the recovery of artifacts from the shipwreck site.

She’ll also talk about the conservation process.

“A lot of people are surprised by what we have to do and how long it takes,” said Welsh of the conservation process that can take years to complete.

Queen Anne's Revenge pirate Blackbeard Cape Fear

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