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Museum of the Albemarle

Museum of the Albemarle

The Museum of the Albemarle is dedicated to promoting the history of the Albemarle Region. It is located in downtown Elizabeth City in North Carolina. The street address is 501 South Water Street. It was established in 1967. The museum began in a former North Carolina Highway Patrol station. This was in the southern parts of Elizabeth City. In 2008, it expanded into a three-story museum on the Downtown Waterfront.

The museum encourages locals and visitors to explore history. It gives them a chance to learn to understand the past. It is the northeastern regional branch of the North Carolina Museum of History.


The more rural areas of the region may not find it easy to get to the museum. To deal with this, the Museum of Albemarle has found ways to bring the museum to the people. Some of the options of gaining the museum’s experience include:

  1. Traveling Exhibits

The museum has created ways to bring knowledge to those who cannot go looking. Traveling exhibits allow locals to enjoy exhibits in their home areas. Available exhibits include;

  • Temperance and Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition
  • Look Again: Discovering Historical Photos
  • 350 Years of History in the Albemarle Region
  • Flying Kites with Delia
  • Memorable Sands: Beaches of Northeast North Carolina and Southeast Virginia
  • Post from the Coast
  • Women Making History
  • Steeped in Time: Tea and Traditions
  • The Outer Banks: Circa 1900
  1. Online Exhibits

People who are not in a position to be in Elizabeth City can still enjoy exhibits. The museum offers a range of special programs to learn the area’s history. These include;

  • Under Both Flags: Civil War in the Albemarle
  • The Day the Lights Came On
  • Temperance and Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition

Our Story: Life in the Albemarle

This is the museum’s main exhibit. It is a 6200 square feet gallery with over 700 artifacts. It depicts the rich history and culture of the 16 counties in Albemarle. The exhibit tells the story of Albemarle and how the communities lived in the area.


Most of the events held at the museum happen once, and they are often themed events. Some of the upcoming ones are;

  • History for Lunch: Hunt Clubs of Currituck County
  • Tot Time at Home: The First Thanksgiving

The museum’s website and social media outlets will have more information on all events.

Plan Your Visit

The museum is an exciting place to explore Albemarle’s history. It offers incredible exhibits, programs, and events. Operating times are between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. It remains closed on weekends and state holidays.

Admission to view exhibits and programs is free. Visitors are however encouraged to give donations to help maintain the museum.


The exhibits are made to be self-guided. This allows for individuals to enjoy the museum at their own pace. If you plan to go to the museum with a group, a two-week reservation should be considered. Groups can register for specialized tours and programming in advance. Some of the tour options offered include;

  • Self-Guided Tours

You can discover the museum gems at a comfortable pace with the self-guided tours. Tour the exciting history with “Our Story”. You will gain the opportunity to learn the unique history of the Albemarle Region.

  • Audio Tours

Audio tours allow visitors to better navigate the museum. You can access the tours directly on a cell-phone or device with an internet connection. Visitors are encouraged to use headphones during the audio tour. Headphones are at the reception desk for those who will not have carried their own pair.

  • Guided Tours

There are walk-in tours set up by the Educational Department. They allow you to enjoy the museum while making sure you do not miss anything. They include;

  1. CARTifacts Gallery Carts

These are done in periods. You can inquire at the front desk if one may be available during your visit.

  1. Gallery Backpacks

Children can find backpacks filled with extra enhancing activities in the gallery. The activities are according to subjects presented within Our Story. Backpacks can be checked out at the second-floor reception desk

  1. Drop-In Friday

Drop in the museum to enjoy a featured program or activity. This program utilizes storytelling, activities, costumed interpretation or demonstrations. Programs will vary from week to week. Fridays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  1. Discovery Room: Sailing the High Seas

The Albemarle Region is half land and half water. This is its main aesthetic aspect. Before it was permanently settled, it was a pirate haven. Pirates would use the area for prey and refuge.

Visitors have the chance of participating in maritime activities. Some of these activities include getting aboard the Queen Albemarle ship. Children can read books in an underwater cave. You can also learn about the food chain and play pirate games while there.

Renting The Museum

Holding your event in South Water Street is sure to make it elegant. The museum has a range of gorgeous spaces for rent in Elizabeth City. It is a great place for all events. Some of the events held at the spaces available are;

  • Wedding receptions
  • Holiday Parties
  • Corporate dinners
  • Family reunions
  • Business meetings
  • Community events

The following is a list of available rent space.

  • Auditorium
  • Classrooms A and B
  • Lobby
  • The Conference/Board room
  • Festival Portico and Stage
  • South Portico
  • The Museum Green

Information on who to contact for reservations is on the museum’s website.

The Gift Shop

In the Museum of the Albemarle, you will find local handicrafts, books, and souvenirs. These items represent the region. They compliment the museum’s current exhibits and programs. The shop showcases the talent and beauty of Northeastern North Carolina. There are over 90 artists and craftsmen that sell their work in the store.

The museum offers a chance to learn history with incredible sources. There are physical representations of earlier life. The information available at the museum is curated to maintain your interest. It is the perfect family-friendly destination to be enjoyed by all ages. Be sure to visit the museum the next time you are in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Can't Get Enough of Eastern North Carolina Museums?

Please check out our complete list of sites and other museums / interesting attractions in the Eastern North Carolina area here:  The Historic Albemarle Trail.

ENC Explorer
Author: ENC Explorer

After getting accepted to ECU, I started looking for things to do in and around Greenville, NC. However, my searches kept taking me to places in South Carolina! There must be things to do around ECU, so I started asking other students. They kept telling me to graduate and move away! This inspired me to begin exploring eastern North Carolina and build this website as a showcase of the places to go, sights to see, and things to do all over eastern NC. I have fallen in love with this region and started taking up roots here. After graduating, I didn't move away - I bought a house here and continue to explore eastern North Carolina.

This place is for Publicity

This place is for Publicity

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