NC’s Maritime Museum
Millions of years ago, mollusks, echinoderms, giant sharks and whales roamed the ancient seas as far inland as Raleigh, North Carolina. Mastodons, giant sloths and horses roved the shore. And for thousands of years, the sea has provided sustenance for man.
North Carolina’s Maritime Museum in Beaufort displays this rich maritime heritage – from pre-history to today. A visit to the museum introduces you to the natural beauty, the resources and the cultural aspects of North Carolina’s coastal region.
You’ll experience the importance of whaling to North Carolina’s economy from the early 1700s until the 20th century. The exhibit "Chasing the Leviathan" documents the history of whaling along the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. The on-shore whaling from Core and Shackleford Banks began with the first royal license in 1723 and ended about 1917. Whale oil and baleen were important exports from the whaling communities of Diamond City and Cape Lookout in the nineteenth century.
A historic boat collection showcases the traditional methods of building boats by “the rack of the eye”. Not only does the museum collect and restore these cultural artifacts, it also teaches traditional boat-building techniques in its Watercraft Center.
Twenty-eight of these boats are on display, including an 1850s split-log canoe that represents nineteenth-century North Carolina working watercraft.
Beside exhibits and workshops, the museum also sponsors traditional and classical music concerts, participates in the Beaufort Music Festival, and in the Beaufort Old Homes Tour.
One of its most successful music programs has been the African-American Chantymen, a group of retired menhaden fishermen who perform traditional work songs.
The delicate balance between man and his environment is a focus of the museum. A visit makes you appreciate the vital connection between the maritime region and the people.
The Maritime Museum is open 363 days each year from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays, closing only for Christmas and New Year's Day.
Want to know more? Check out the ultimate source for Cultural Resources in North Carolina, NCDCR.
added: December 30, 2008
updated: December 7, 2010
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