North Carolina Maritime Museum

The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort is dedicated to researching, preserving, documenting, and interpreting the maritime history, culture, and environment of coastal North Carolina. The museum’s programs, facilities and exhibits offer visitors the opportunity to explore the importance and impact of the maritime ecology on the state while enjoying a day of education and entertainment.

Located on the North Carolina Crystal Coast near Atlantic Beach, the N.C. Maritime Museum is stuffed with artifacts, relics and exhibits. The museum’s auditorium consists of  a multitude of displays including the Watson Shell Collection which consists of over 5 thousand seashells from 100 countries.

Perhaps the most intriguing exhibit at the museum is that of Blackbeard, the most infamous pirate of all time. Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, was believed to be discovered off the coast of North Carolina in 1996 near Beaufort Inlet and the museum. Since the discovery the state has been awarded the rights to the shipwreck and archaeologists have recovered such artifacts as an English Blunderbuss gun barrel, a bronze bell, and cannon balls. As Queen Anne’s Revenge continues to be excavated additional artifacts will be added to the exhibit. With the allure and mystique that surround pirates, Blackbeard and Queens Anne’s Revenge is one exhibit that should not be missed.

Adjacent the the maritime museum is the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center where visitors can observe museum volunteers constructing, conserving and restoring wooden boats. All of the restored vessels, ranging from canoes to sailing skiffs, are put on display next door in the Boat Shed. The Watercraft Center also offers a variety of classes from model boat building to the Boat-in-a-Day program where parents and children spend the day building a functioning flat-bottom rowboat. The center also offers an extensive range of boat building classes throughout the year.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is an ideal place to spend a day when visiting the Crystal Coast. To learn more about the museum programs and hours of operation visit them online at