Few things are as fun and exciting to kids as Pirates. While many museums may be boring for the kids, the New England Pirate Museum won't be! This is one of the most fun-filled places in Salem and delves into the rich but little-known history of New England sea-robbers that they bring to life again.

This is "a historical adventure" museum and with plenty to keep young and old spell-bound with interest and excitement. In Rhode Island, the White Horse Tavern is America's oldest tavern and one of its first owners was a pirate!


History Of Pirates In New England

Boston's North Shore once had its fair share of pirates with captains Quelch, Blackbeard, Kidd, and Bellamy falling upon the hapless merchant sailors. Boston's North Shore was known then as the Gold Coast. This classical pirating was happening at the same time as the witches were being hanged in Salem.

  • Pirates In New England: Blackbeard, Kidd, Bellamy, Quelch
  • Snowbirds: The Pirates Were Snowbirds Much Like New Yorkers and New Englanders Today

Some things never seem to change. Today New Yorkers and New Englanders fly south to Florida and the Caribbean for the winter so too did the pirates back then. They would spend their winter in the tropics and the summers in Boston's "Gold Coast".

In fact, many of the 17th and 18th-century pirates were New Englanders and New Yorkers and would pirate the gold and silver being shipped out from Central America and the merchandise from Europe.

  • Pirate Stereotypes: Come From The Movies Treasure Island (1950) and Blackbeard The Pirate (1952)
  • Actor Robert Newton: Father Of The "Pirate Accent"

Interestingly, the "pirate accent" steams from the English actor Robert Newton acting as Long John Silver and Blackbeard the pirate in the movies Treasure Island (1950) and Blackbeard The Pirate (1952). In those movies, he used an exaggerated form of his native Cornish/Dorset accent, and they became the standard of pirate movies ever since.

Related: The Only Real Pirate Ship (And Treasure) Sunk Off The Coast Of Massachusetts

What To Expect At The Museum And Walking Tours

In the New England Pirate Museum, the kids will relive the exciting adventures of famous (or infamous) captains like Captain Kidd and Captain Blackbeard. These pirates roamed these shores freely plundering merchant ships.

Visiting the museum is a full experience with visitors mingling with these swashbucklers of yore, walking along the dockside village, boarding their ship, and even watching them give battle. In the cave, kids will discover the ubiquitous hidden treasure.

The walking tours are 20 to 30 minutes long and introduce the participants to some 60 buccaneers of the golden age of piracy. See how the rascals, villains, and rapists of the Olde Salem Towne roamed freely on the high seas while the poor witches were executed on land.

In the museum, one will participate in educational and historically accurate walking tours kept entertaining for young and old. The walking tour starts in their artifacts room replete with authentic pirate treasures.

During the tour, visitors will stroll through the colonial seaport, board a pirate ship, and explore an eighty-foot cave. In the cave, the kids will encounter some of those 17th-century scallywags face to face. The tours are also suitable for school groups.

This is a fun family-focused museum complete with education curriculums for the kids and parents. They have a selection of elementary level, middle school level, high school level, and teachers' curriculums.

Related: 13 Things Pirates Of The Caribbean Got Right (12 That Were Made Up)

Visiting The Museum, Hours And Tickets

  • Tour Duration: 20 to 30 Minutes
  • Season: May 15 To October 31
  • Open: 7 Days A Week, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Last Tour At 5.00 pm)
  • Tickets: Purchased On Arrival | Adult: $13.00 | Child: $10.00 (Aged 4 to 13 Years Old) | Seniors: $12.00 (Aged 65 and Over)
  • Note: Save $8.00 Per Person With A Combination Ticket
  • Address: 274 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970

Other Attractions In Salem And Other Pirate Attractions In The USA

Salem is an easy distance from Boston and is only 16 miles north or a simple 30-minute drive. In October they have extended hours for haunted happenings, these hours and events are on their website.

  • Salem: Only 30 Minutes From Boston
  • Don't Miss: The Witch Dungeon Museum And The Witch History Museum

The New England Pirate Museum is one of a group of three must-see museums in Salem. The other two delving into the colonial settlement's unsavory past are the Witch Dungeon Museum and the Witch History Museum.

If one is not on the Eastern Seaboard, then there is a completely different pirate attraction in the Pacific Northwest. Board the replica ship the "Lady Washington" that has starred in numerous movies including the "HMS Interceptor" in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl and as the Holodeck ship in Star Trek: Generations where Data pushes Dr. Crusher into the water.

Next: Unsettling Facts About Modern Pirates (And Where In The World You’ll Find Them)