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Digging for gold on your travels? Look no further than the museum of sunken treasures!

museum of sunken treaures

Ahoy mateys, we have a special treat for you! Our BRAND NEW trip, Underwater Quest, has just set sail with some amazing surprises in store – and one such surprise is the awe-striking visit to the Museum of Sunken Treasures.

Lost pirate’s booty, pearl necklaces, waterlogged ships, and items totally out of this world, you’ve never seen a museum like this before and we are so proud to offer it as an inclusion on our trip! To get you all as excited as us, we’ve interviewed the curator, Billy Barnacle III, and he told us all about the museum’s history and legacy, and what he loves most about his job.

Hi Billy! Would you like to introduce yourself?

“Hi, yes, I’m Billy Barnacle III, and I am the very proud curator of The Museum of Sunken Treasures, right here in the remains of Queen Anne’s Revenge.”

What kind of artefacts does the museum include?

Ranging from long lost historical treasures to legendary prizes that only exist in myth, the Museum of Sunken Treasures is truly a jewel of the ocean and a must-see destination. We run monthly special expositions, and in April the museum is focusing on an exclusive about clownfish and their quirky penchant for pranks and tomfoolery – it’s really eye-opening stuff!

Billy Barnacles

Image source:Contiki / AI Adobe Firefly

Have you always known you wanted to be the curator of a sunken treasure museum?

“I have, actually! This is a family business: my father, Billy Barnacles II, and his father Cesar Barnacles, and his father, and his father, etc. ran it before me. I come from a long line of museum curators, you see, and this museum has been in our family for centuries. I don’t know how true this is, but my great-grandmother Calypso used to say we had some pirate blood in us, so I guess you could say plundering treasure runs in my DNA as well! But don’t worry, I don’t have scurvy or anything.”

“It’s a fish-tastic job though, I mean, I’m surrounded by treasure all day. Most people dream of being in my position. Being underwater is a barrier for some, I suppose, but I really put my heart and sole into my work.”

If you don’t mind me asking, what species are you? How do you breathe underwater?

“I get asked that a lot. I’m a merman, but generally I wear a very loose and flowing outfit – to give my tail room to breathe – but visitors don’t often catch it at first. I also have gills just at the top of my neck which are what help me breathe underwater.”

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Could you tell me a little bit about the history of this museum? How did you curate this impressive collection considering how large the ocean is?

“It’s been the work of a few centuries. We were lucky in the start to have stumbled upon this ship which was already filled with pirate booty: treasure chests and the like. Originally the museum was a historical expo on pirates and their travels and we displayed the artefacts. But over time we collected more treasures.”

“These days our means are much more modern. We contract local whales to fetch things for us which gives them a great opportunity to travel and make some money. And, you know, X marks the spot, so we just follow maps.”

Do you have a favourite treasure?

“Gosh that’s a hard question – how do you choose?”

“Some of my favourites are the sports equipment from the 1812 Underwater Olympics, the remains of Poseidon’s crown, a fin bone from the Megalodon, may he rest in peace, and of course Atlantis’ Declaration of Independence.”

“We also sell kraken ink pasta at our gift shop which is a smash hit with tourists and locals alike – it goes really well with organically grown kelp!”

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How many people, or fish, do you employ?

“Other than myself I have two main members of staff, Ann Emoney and Sadie Sunk. They both came in a few years ago and I’m especially happy for the help these days as my wife is pregnant with our first child! When the little guy is born I’ll probably look to hire a third member of the permanent staff.”

“Ann works front of house, and Sadie takes care of our archives. I also employ seasonal staff around the summer when the School of Fish year ends as we get a lot of tourists from other seas, and they’re all locals. It’s important to support your community, you know?”

Does this business attract many locals, or is the heart of your income tourists?

“Seeing as this museum operates out of a rumoured-to-be-lost pirate ship, it’s kind of hard to get tourists to come. They just don’t think we exist! So most of our clientele is locals – they love to come look at those shiny things from other worlds.”

“We’re really excited about our partnership with Contiki though, and we really hope your travellers can get our name out there and get us out of uncharted waters. It would be great for people from all over the globe, air-breathers or not, to come and shell-ebrate these lost and found cultural artefacts with us.”

diving underwater

Image source:NEOM / unsplash

What are some common treasure misconceptions that you’d like to clear up?

“Well, I’d just like to say that not all treasure is stolen, and some museums have actual integrity in regards to the provenance of their expos, you know? Just because one empire did it, I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about, doesn’t mean we all did.”

“My team and I take great care in sourcing treasure around the seven seas, and if we want to display something that belongs to any indigenous cultures, we ask permission – we never take! For example, contrary to popular belief, the Atlantians have put Poseidon’s Spear on loan, we would never have gone over there and stolen it.”

“Also, we know what human items are called. That mermaid Ariel gave us a bad reputation with her use of ‘dinglehopper’ for what was obviously a fork.”

Do you have any advice for young aspiring sunken-treasure-museum-curators?

“Follow your dreams – the ocean is limitless and there’s so much that hasn’t even been explored yet. You never know what you’ll find, so keep an open mind and keep being curious. It may seem like a long road, but museum curator is the BEST job in the world, so it’s not an aspiration I’d give up on.”

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What does treasure mean to you? Is the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ true?

“The real treasure is my wife, Marina. She’s my rock, or, my precious stone if you will, and I wouldn’t be the merman I am today without her.”

“But the reason I love treasure so much is because of the stories it tells. You learn a lot from the folks and cultures around you, even if all you find are pots and pans that sank from a ship, or a magical conch shell that mimics whalesong. In this sense, one man’s trash is definitely another’s treasure.”

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