About the Museums

One historic coast...Three unique museums!

The North Carolina Maritime Museum System is made up of the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Beaufort, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras and the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport.

About the North Carolina Maritime Museums

The North Carolina Maritime Museums are part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The three North Carolina Maritime Museums preserve and interpret North Carolina’s coastal life and history. They paint a picture of the maritime and coastal culture including fishermen, boat builders, decoy carvers and more. They present exhibits of painters and pirates, shipwrecks and sailboats, and about marine life and protection.  One historic coast...Three unique museums!

In addition to the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, the other two maritime museums include:

North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort

The N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort reflects coastal life and interprets lighthouses and lifesaving stations, the seafood industry, motorboats, and more. Studies in marine life, science, and ecology are available for all ages. The Beaufort museum is the repository for artifacts from Blackbeard’s wrecked flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, among them cannons, grenades, belt buckles and beads. The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center teaches boatbuilding for all ages.  For more information, visit www.ncmaritimemuseums.com.

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

The N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport tells the story of the Cape Fear region and its people. The museum is at the intersection of the mighty Cape Fear River and the vast Atlantic Ocean. It shares tales of pirates and pillage, blockade running and riverfront archaeology, and other nautical adventures. Ongoing educational programs for children and adults about this area that was a haven for blockade runners and also a pirate hideout are available. For more information, visit www.ncmaritimemuseums.com.

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras is named in honor of the thousands of shipwrecks that litter North Carolina’s coast, and is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the state’s coastal and shipwreck history, with emphasis on the years 1524 through 1945. Shipwrecks associated with piracy, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and World Wars I and II are the subject of changing exhibits. The museum has remnants of the earliest known shipwreck found in North Carolina waters, dating to 1650.  www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR's mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state's history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state's communities. NCDCR's Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina's rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR's State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state's creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov

volunteer

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.

Beaufort              

Southport               

 Hatteras