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Pirates: Unlikely Naturalists

In addition to Real Pirates, visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy a special bonus exhibition entitled Pirates: Unlikely Naturalists, curated by theNAT in partnership with local contributors. This local exhibition will include some of the most important rare books documenting the “Golden Age of Piracy” in existence—dating from the late 16th to early 18th century—on loan from the Mandeville Special Collections at the UC San Diego Library. Many pirates or privateers from the late 17th century produced illustrated journals that contributed to the early rise of natural history and their observations heavily influenced the work of scores of scientists, including Charles Darwin.

TheNAT will also display a wide collection of the types of pearls sought by Spanish explorers and English pirates while cruising off the coast of Baja California or in the Sea of Cortes during the 16th and 17th centuries. The pearls, as well as authentic books and maps, are on loan to the Museum from the personal collection of Will and Carl Larson (Palagems.com), international gem and mineral dealers from Fallbrook. 

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