Visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort for a taste of coastal cultures and maritime history. Exhibits feature the state’s rich seafood industry, life-saving stations and lighthouses, and sailboats and motorboats. The Museum is the official repository for artifacts from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, which ran aground near Beaufort in 1718.
The "Friends" work with the museum by underwriting new projects, purchasing equipment, funding educational and public awareness programs and acquiring land and facilities needed for expansion.
Their combined effort offers programs such as Build a Boat in a Day, Sailing Programs, Beaufort Oars, Junior Sailing, Sea Scouts, Summer Science School and much more, including the annual Wooden Boat Show.
centerpiece of the Beaufort Maritime Museum exhibit on whales and
whaling is the skeleton |
of a fifteen-year-old 33.5-foot sperm whale that stranded on Shackelford Banks.
In January 2004, the museum staff, including Natural Science Curator Keith Rittmaster, responded quickly to the news of a beached whale; they buried the dead creature on the beach and waited for nature to take its course. Four years later, when the bones were exhumed, the team found a whale-skeleton puzzle of more than 200 bones, bone fragments and teeth.
After the bones traveled to N.C. State University for de-greasing—a process to keep the skeleton from dripping oil and creating bad odors—the team set up an off-site work facility. Bones in hand, a dedicated team spent four more years cleaning and reassembling the skeleton while raising necessary funds to ready it for display in the museum. The skeleton is now suspended above the main exhibit hall in the North Carolina Maritime Museum on Front Street.
As part of the whaling exhibit, visitors will be able to use interactive touch screens to learn more. Whaling tools, equipment and images will also help tell the story of those who braved the sea, off the Outer Banks of North Carolina in pursuit of these huge creatures.
A little more history...The earliest history goes back to 1666 when New England sailing vessels cruised North Carolina waters in pursuit of sperm and right whales.
A lease in 1723 allowed Governor Burrington, Christopher Gale and John Lovick to take whales along the coast between Cape Fear and Currituck Inlet for a term of seven years. A whaling license was issued in 1726 to Samuel Chadwick. Chadwick and three other residents of Carteret precinct, Bath County, were permitted to whale with three boats. More about Samuel Chadwick the Whaler…