At the end of N.C. Highway 12 just past the ferry docks, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum attracts a lot of attention with its ship-like building, porthole windows and curved timbers. One of three North Carolina Maritime Museums operated by the North Carolina Division of Cultural Resources, the museum focuses on the maritime history and culture of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, often called the Graveyard of the Atlantic for the more than 2,000 shipwrecks off the coast. Exhibitions cover five centuries, with shipwreck artifacts and memorabilia on display. Exhibits tell dramatic tales of lifesaving, piracy, maritime culture and underwater heritage.
View the original 1854 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Fresnel lens, the Enigma machine from U-85, the bell from the Diamond Shoals Lightship, artifacts from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge 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 features year-round programming for people of all ages. Enjoy creating coastal crafts and listen to presentations by experts in maritime history, food, art and culture.
From the first Monday in April through September, hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From the first Monday in October through March, hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free; donations are appreciated.