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North Carolina Maritime Museum 

North Carolina Maritime Museum 

North Carolina Maritime Museum  

The North Carolina Maritime Museum (NCMM) is located at Southport in North Carolina. It stands at the confluence of three water bodies, namely:

  • Cape Fear River
  • The Atlantic Ocean

The museum has a mission to collect, preserve and interpret maritime history. This is in terms of the material culture that is in line with the history of the Lower Cape Fear region. The museum is located in the officer’s quarters on the Fort Johnston grounds.


The North Carolina Maritime Museum began from a small store on Howe Street. It was initially known as the Southport Maritime Museum. In 1999, it became a state agency.

Over the years, there have been numerous changes due to upgrading and renovations. It initially was a way to attract visitors and tourists to Southport. The museum has grown into one of the best attractions in the Cape Fear region.

The museum collaborated with the city, state, and federal entities. This allowed it to relocate to Moore Street. On Independence Day, it reopened its doors to the public.

Tourists and locals have voted the museum as one of the best attractions in the area. For anyone who enjoys the coast, the museum is a great place to get a unique experience. Immerse yourself in the fascinating history that fills the region.

My Museum Book

Visiting new places can be overwhelming. For guidance, the NCMM has put together the My Museum Book. The book has a lot of helpful information about the museum. 

Some of this valuable information includes:

  1. Location
  1. What do we do?
  1. Programs you may be interested in
  1. Operating hours
  1. Specific rules to follow when visiting
  1. Amenities

The museum book is a helpful guide for visitors. It allows you to know what to do and where to go without the help of the staff. You can download the book from the museum’s website.


The museum has a number of maritime-themed exhibits focused on the lower Cape Fear River. There are permanent, temporary, and digital exhibits.

  1. Permanent exhibits

These have an educational aspect. The focus of the permanent exhibits is:

  • Shipwrecks
  • Fisheries
  • Hurricanes
  • Military conflicts that range from piracy to World War II
  1. Temporary Exhibits

These showcase different displays that are maritime-themed. They vary from season to season. They are a fun way to gain interesting information about the region’s maritime culture.

  1. Digital Exhibits

These can be experienced through shows. They are scheduled and you can find out which are showing on the website. These digital exhibits may not show well on a phone or tablet. Some popular ones include:

  • Deadly Dozen

This display opened on June 19th, 2021. Hurricanes are a huge part of the Outer Banks. The coastal communities of North Carolina have experienced many, and rebuild every time one passes. These hurricanes have a huge impact on the region’s maritime environment. This is documented by the National Weather Service.

Deadly Dozen gives a look at the cultural history of the service. There have been twelve huge storms. Starting from 1954’s Hurricane Hazel to Hurricane Florence of 2018, all information is documented. You will learn how to prepare for a hurricane, live through it and recover from it.

  • Pirates!

Pirates were a common sight in the Outer Banks' history. One famous one is Blackbeard, who caused a lot of havoc in the region. The Lower Cape Fear also had its own famous one, a Gentleman Pirate.

This virtual exhibit opened on June 10, 2021. It offers a crash course on Stede Bonnet, the pirate of the region.

  • Indigenous Mariners of Coastal North Carolina

This display opened on November 3, 2020. You can scroll through the exploration of the first inhabitants of the region. There is information about the early tribes and what their lives were like.

  • Steaming into the 20th Century

The age of Steam is interesting to learn about. This display shows how the communities functioned in the 20th century. It explores steam engines, how they work, and how the local communities use them.

The display opened on September 24, 2020. It offers insight into the post-Civil War era. You will see images, videos, news clippings, and more.

  • “Construimus, Batuimus. We Build, We Fight”

The U.S. Seabee Museum is part of the Naval History and Heritage Command. The museum is currently closed, and part of its exhibits are at the NC Maritime Museum.

This digital display opened on May 1, 2020. It shows the legacy of SEABEES. The items used in the display are on a short-term loan. Some are placed on permanent donation to the NC Maritime Museum at Southport. The display contains information, images, and support from the U.S. Seabee Museum.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is an educational haven. It contains information on the crystal coast and the outer banks' history. It is a great place to learn more about maritime culture and the communities that lived here in the past.

This place is for Publicity

This place is for Publicity

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