At the end of N.C. Highway 12 just past the ferry docks, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum attracts attention with its composite of ship shapes, porthole windows and curved timbers. One of three North Carolina Maritime Museums operated by the North Carolina Division of Natural and Cultural Resources, the museum focuses on the maritime history and culture of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Outer Banks’ stretch of sea is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic for the more than 2,000 shipwrecks submerged in her waters. Museum exhibits cover five centuries, with shipwreck and maritime-related artifacts on display. Exhibits share accounts of war, piracy, lifesaving and coastal culture. View the original 1854 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Fresnel lens, the Enigma machine from U-85, the bell from Diamond Shoals Lightship LV-71 and exhibits exploring Hatteras Island during the Civil War, including artifacts from Monitor. Discover Hatteras’ amazing link to Titanic. See unusual artifacts that have washed ashore as well as vintage diving and sport-fishing equipment. The museum’s website features educational programming for people of all ages that includes coastal crafts for kids, videos, a children’s newspaper and history lessons and activities for students. Admission is free; donations are appreciated.
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