What’s at the bottom of the deep blue sea? “Odyssey’s Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure,” an exhibit at Putnam Museum, will help answer that question.
“We’ve all heard stories of pirates and treasures – and what’s so fun about this exhibit is that it lets you experience some of the tangible aspects of the shipwrecks that have been discovered in our oceans,” Kim Findlay, president and CEO at Putnam, said in a news release. “Visitors will experience the thrill and excitement of shipwreck discovery while they learn what it takes to explore the last frontier – deep below the ocean surface. This is an exhibit that children and adults alike will find fascinating.”
The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 15, features artifacts discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., including the SS Republic, a Civil War-era shipwreck, and silver from the SS Gairsoppa, a World War II vessel.
Visitors can also see bottles and coins from the Civil War era, a 300-year-old carpenter’s folding rule, hairbrushes and combs, and even game pieces.
Of special interest is a large photomosaic of the site of the Republic’s wreckage, where the ship’s final resting place is 1,700 feet below the surface. Visitors can zoom in on the site to see where the artifacts were found. Also on hand are full-scale replicas of technology and equipment used by Odyssey in its “treasure” hunts.
Adding to the fun is a robotic manipulator arm for a hands-on experience at hunting for pieces of the past. Guests can test their skills by trying to pick up coins. Ever wonder what it’s like in a hurricane? Then the wind tunnels, replicating the power of the storms that sunk the Republic, can give you a taste of nature’s windy wrath. There’s also interactive challenges and games that test visitors’ skills at handling ocean recovery missions.
Visitors can also dive a little deeper into the museum’s exhibits, thanks to technology that puts information in the palm of their hands. Putnam has introduced a free app for Apple and Android devices designed to enrich the visitor experience with easy-to-use maps, interactive tools and show times. It was provided by Alcoa Foundation.
“We’re so thankful to Alcoa for allowing us to create this tool for visitors,” Findlay said. “This app will help enhance the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] learning that takes place at the science center and make the overall visitor experience much deeper.”
To download the app, visit the App Store or Play Store on smartphones or tablets and search for “Putnam Museum.”
Explorers who aren’t technologically blessed will find the museum and its Shipwreck display just as fascinating, so head to Iowa and drop anchor at the Putnam Museum.