Oil Pressure

Oil Pressure

Cetaceans in the Crosshairs of our Search for Oil

On Tuesday, October 21 at 7 p.m. Keith Rittmaster, NC Maritime Museum Natural Science Curator, will present his program entitled “Oil Pressure; Cetaceans in the Crosshairs of our Search for Oil”.   During this program Keith will discuss sources of traditional whale oil in North Carolina including whale blubber, spermaceti oil and dolphin jaw oil.  Visitors will also learn about how humans’ modern search for petroleum in the oceans has affected the cetaceans.  Following the program visitors will be able treated to some hands-on and nose-on experiences. 

What are Cetaceans?  Cetacea is a group of Marine Mammals that are large with streamlined bodies that glide through the water.  The Cetacea group includes whales, dolphins and purposes. 

Keith Rittmaster is the Natural Science Curator for the NC Maritime Museum system for over 20 years.  Keith and his wife Vicky Thayer began regional dolphin photo-ID and marine mammal stranding response in 1985, cetacean skeletal rearticulations in 1993, the “Protect the Wild Dolphins” license plate in 2002 and the NC Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program in 2007.   

Sea of Greed

The Untold Story behind
America's Biggest Drug Raid

Routine Coast Guard stop in Beaufort
ends with 
the U.S. invasion of Panama
and overthrow of dictator Manuel Noriega.


When the Coast Guard hailed a Gulf Coast shrimp trawler near Cape Lookout, NC on the 4th of July weekend, 1982, it was considered a routine stop.  At the time, no one thought it would set in motion a chain-of-events that ended with the U.S. invasion of Panama, overthrow of dictator Manuel Noriega, and one of the biggest drug busts in America’s history.

The case began on the docks of the historic fishing village of Beaufort, NC when authorities found a shrimp boat carrying over 29,000 lbs. of marijuana.

These events have been chronicled in the book “Sea of Greed” by Douglas McCullough and Les Pendleton, based on the true story behind the arrest of Manuel Noriega and the invasion of Panama.  J. Douglas McCullough is the U.S. attorney who unraveled the Cayman Island cartel.

To celebrate the re-release of the book by Deer Hawk Publications., Judge McCullough will be hosting an event on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.  The event begins at 5:30 p.m.  It is free and open to the public. 

“Sea of Greed” is the true story that follows drug traffickers whose activities affected the fate of two nations (Panama and the U.S.).  It led to the indictment of more than 125 people individuals and eventually became known as the catalyst for the War on Drugs.

For the first time, Judge McCullough will reveal never-before-known facts of the case.  He will bring together some of the actual participants in the events depicted in the book, as well as current representatives of the various law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation.  You’ll hear what some of them have to say about their roles in the investigation. 

“I can’t emphasize enough how many of the local police departments assisted the federal investigation,” stated Judge McCullough.   “They provided so much information that was used in court but may not have been mentioned in the book,” he said.

After the discussion, there will be a Q&A, followed by a book signing for Sea of Greed” and the opportunity to meet the author.

About the Author

Judge Douglas McCullough sits on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  Following service in the U.S. Marine Corps, McCullough was a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia before becoming Counsel to the Senate Ethics Committee in Washington. He returned to his home state, North Carolina, in 1981 and became the senior Assistant United States Attorney where he served until 1996.  After four years in private practice he won his first election to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and was re-elected in 2010.

Night at the Museum

October 31, 6-8 p.m.

fright night 2013

Happy Halloween! You are invited for a “spooktacular” Halloween party at the NC Maritime Museum this Halloween.  Bring your little ghouls and goblins to the Museum to join staff and volunteers for a not-so-spooky Halloween Party including games, candy and crafts in the Museum’s auditorium and maritime myths and legends in the Museum’s lobby. 

This event is donation supported and designed for families with children 12 and under so there will be no rotting zombies, screaming ghouls or goblins jumping out, but there will be a few fun surprises including a couple friendly ghosts, a haunted sail boat and we have even invited some singing skulls this year! Crafts and games will be going on throughout the evening so feel free to stop by before or after your trick-or-treating adventures. 


Please be safe while enjoying your Halloween activities this year with your little ghouls and goblins.  The town of Beaufort, N.C. has supplied the following tips for having a fun and safe Halloween. Please visit for more information about having a safe and fun Halloween.

  1. Children 12 years of age and younger may participate in the Trick-or-Treating activities.
  2. Children may participate in the traditional Trick-or-Treat door-to-door activities until 8:00 p.m. Never approach a house that has its lights off, unattended dogs, or clearly posted as no trespassing.
  3. Make sure children are accompanied by an adult or a responsible teenager when they go door-to-door. Go with them yourself if you can. Never allow children to go alone.
  4. Take your children to trick or treat in their own neighborhood or in neighborhoods of family or friends and along well-lit streets. They should always carry a flashlight.
  5. Tell your children to use the sidewalks, where possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing cars. Cross at corners and safe areas.
  6. Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  7. Remind children to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
  8. Go only to well-lit houses and remain outside.
  9. Once you knock on the door or ring the bell, take four or more steps back until you are able to determine your safety.
  10. Tell your children not to enter a stranger's house or accept a ride from a stranger.
  11. Instruct children never to eat anything until they are home and the treats have been examined by an adult.
  12. If you encounter suspicious or illegal activities, please note the location and description of the individuals involved for the police.

Lunch with Pirates


Lunch With Pirates


Saturday, August 9


Come in. Cool down. Meet the Pirates.

On Saturday, August 9 at 11:30 the NC Maritime Museum will be offering our 5th annual “Lunch with Pirates”.  This is a delicious lunch catered by East Carolina’s very own “Fat Fellas BBQ & Grille”.  While enjoying their lunch families will be treated to a fashion show featuring the latest trends in the pirate world, put together by the East Coast Pirate Crew.   The infamous pirate Blackbeard will also be present and may even be willing to tell his tale of piracy! Reservations are required for the “Lunch with Pirates” and tickets are $15 per person.    “The Lunch with Pirates is always a very popular event,” says Christine Brin, Museum Educator, “the kids enjoy meeting Blackbeard and the parents enjoy the air-conditioned, and calm atmosphere.”

Starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday families will be invited into the NC Maritime Museum’s library where they will have their chance to enjoy some free (and air conditioned) activities and crafts.  Children will get their very own pirate hat, official pirate tattoo, pirate sash and even make a “super-secret” pirate treasure map.   The activities will close during the Lunch with Pirates at 11:30 a.m. but will reopen at 12:30 and run until 4:00 p.m.   “Thanks to support from the Friends of the Museum we are able to offer all of these programs free,” state Brin ,”and parents have a ‘safe zone’ where they can relax and not worry about fees or charges”.

This is not everything that will be going on at the NC Maritime Museum, or even around Beaufort during the annual Beaufort Pirate Invasion.  Visit to learn more.

These activities are being offered as part of the 2nd Saturday’s programs offered this summer in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.  2nd Saturdays combines the unique power of arts and heritage with lots of hands-on fun each second Saturday during the peak summertime faction months.  The 2nd Saturday’s events are free and offer hands-on educational opportunities for all ages.

Family Pirate Day

Ahoy Pirates! 

September 27, 2014

The Friends of the Western Carteret Library in partnership with the N.C. Maritime Museum will host a Family Pirate Day at the Western Carteret Library, Saturday, September 27, 10-2 p.m.

Pirates of all ages are invited to enjoy a day of family-friendly festivities. Create a pirate hat, get pirate tattoos, join in a scavenger hunt and learn about the infamous Blackbeard.

“School may have started but the summer fun isn’t over yet,” said Christine Brin, Group and Volunteer Coordinator for the N.C. Maritime Museum. “We are planning exciting activities that include old favorites and some exciting new surprises.”

No registration needed and the events are free.

For more information, call the Western Carteret Library, 393-6500,, or check the special events tab of the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort,, 252-728-7317

What's Happening

See the calendar for a complete program list.


Volunteers are needed for the great times at the Maritime Museums. Share your love of history, culture and North Carolina's well-loved coast.  Each Museum offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, from working with children to helping with events.