The N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh captures more than 14,000 years in “The Story of North Carolina.” The interactive, permanent exhibit reflects the many people and events that shaped the state with multimedia and hands-on activities, and offers context to the museum’s other exhibits. The museum’s collection holds more than 350,000 items that help tell of the lives and people of North Carolina. Pre-colonial communities, pirates, the Civil War, and the Sports Hall of Fame are a few of the diverse aspects of the state that engage you at the museum.
The Museum of the Albemarle
in Elizabeth City captures the history of northeastern North Carolina. Commanding the riverfront, the museum’s exhibits present a chronological overview of a 13 county area, and the geography and ecology of the region. The Our Story
exhibit showcases American Indians, watermen, farmers, craftsmen, and other communities of the area. Artifacts, illustrations, and hands-on activities give life to the locality and 10,000 years of its history. The cultural and social evolution of the people of the Albemarle Region will inspire you.
The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex in Fayetteville interprets the history of southeastern North Carolina and the Cape Fear region from the Paleo-Indian period to the early 1900s. The historical complex includes the museum; 1897 Poe House, a Victorian delight; and Arsenal Park, a four and a half acre site built by the Federal government, and then taken over by the Confederacy. The site addresses European settlement, African American slavery, the steamboat industry, and more. Altogether it is a prism to the past that informs the present, to entertain all who visit.
The Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort encourages the preservation and understanding of the culture of the state’s mountain region. It collects and interprets artifacts and objects of the material culture, and preserves and presents traditions and customs of mountain life. In addition to the museum, two rustic cottages at the site showcase exhibits, and two footbridges cross a creek babbling through the property. Musical performances in the amphitheater are a summer favorite.
Three N.C. 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.
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. A watercraft center teaches boatbuilding for all ages.
The N.C. Maritime Museum in 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.
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.