Environmental Education (EE)

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is a state museum operating under the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The educational mission of the museum is to interpret all aspects of the state’s diverse coastal natural history and rich maritime heritage and to address environmental issues and solutions through exhibits, in-house and outreach programs, field trips, and publications.

Programs and Site Features

The North Carolina Maritime Museum environmental education programs serve the general public through tours, programs, field trips, Summer Science School, and special events and are listed in a calendar published quarterly. Environmental education services provided to school, civic, and special needs groups include museum tours, hands-on programs, videos and slide presentations, staff led field trips to local coastal habitats, and programs at the overnight facilities at the museum’s Cape Lookout field station. 

Educational Services

Educational services are offered to school, civic, and special needs groups. They include tours (self-guided and guided), hands-on live animal programs, audio-visual programs, and field trips. Curators give lectures, consult with, and participate in programs offered by the community and schools. Teachers and group leaders should request the Educational Services Guide

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is located just off the Intracoastal Waterway and Interstate 70 on the historic Beaufort waterfront. Nearby natural areas include the Rachel Carson Reserve, Newport River marshes, Fort Macon State Park, Croatan National Forest, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and the nature trail at the Museums’ Gallants Channel Annex.

Public education programs scheduled on the calendar:

  • Beaufort walking tours
  • Bird watching–Coastal North Carolina and beyond
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Cape Lookout National Seashore: Shackleford and Core Banks
  • Croatan National Forest–carnivorous plants, nature trails
  • Fossil Hunting
  • International eco tours
  • Lecture Series on environmental topics
  • Marine Life Collecting Cruise
  • Nature tours of various sites–national forest trails, national wildlife refuges
  • Rachel Carson Reserve
  • Salt Marsh

Staff-led Programs and Field Trips for Schools, Teachers, and Special Interest Groups

In-museum/outreach programs:

  • Live Animal Program
  • Coastal Birds and Their Habitats
  • Marsh Metaphors
  • Insect-Eating Plants
  • Fingerprints of Trees
  • Marine Mammals
  • Sea Turtles
  • Coastal Fossils and Geological History
  • Endangered Species-Endangered habitats
  • Exploring Ecosystems
  • Global Environmental Issues
  • Barrier Island Ecology
  • Mysterious Mushrooms
  • Edible Wild Plants
  • Wildflowers and Carnivorous Plants

Field Trips:

  • Rachel Carson Reserve
  • Salt Marsh
  • Tidal Flat
  • Croatan National Forest
  • Marine Life Collecting Cruise – Trawling and Dredging

Summer Science School for Children (grades 1 – 9) – classes are listed in the annual brochure available each April for summer courses in coastal ecology and maritime topics.

Cape Lookout Studies Program  – environmental education at the museum’s field station at Cape Lookout provides overnight accommodations.

Discovery Carts – informal hands-on discussions.

Discovery Time – One afternoon each week during the summer activities and crafts for children focus on an environmental and cultural theme.

EE Programs and Activities that come to you:

  • Outreach Programs — Schools and special interest groups
  • Teacher Workshops
  • Special event exhibits and activities

EE Opportunities for Teachers:

  • Public calendar programs help teachers reinforce their coastal ecology knowledge
  • Coastal ecology workshops
  • Saltwater aquarium workshops
  • Seafood workshops

EE Publications available through the museum store:

  • A Guide to Ocean Dune Plants
  • A Guide to Salt Marsh Plants
  • Seacoast Life
  • Discover Maritime North Carolina

EE Environmental education booklets for grades K – 10 written by the Carteret County Marine Science Project and available as photocopies (for the cost of the photocopying) from the museum’s education staff:

  • Tidal Flat Town (K-3)
  • Treasure Hunt of the Sound (3-5)
  • Salt Marsh, Sound, and Sea Beach (6-8)
  • Man and the Sea (6)

A Field Approach to Coastal Ecology (9-10)

Beaufort Oars Rowing Club

The Beaufort Oars is a community based, traditional rowing club that encourages enjoyment on the water, social activity, and exercise. 

The Beaufort Oars rows two boats that were built at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. The group is open to all active Friends of the Museum members. The primary goal is to provide an affordable community based rowing club that encourages enjoyment on the water, social activity, and exercise.

The group currently rows two 34 foot Crestwood Gig’s

If you would like to try out the Oars – just show up!  No experience required.

Volunteer leaders help ensure safety, initiate new members, coordinate events, and spearhead maintenance efforts.  

Rowing Schedule:

Monday, Wednesday & Friday
5:15 p.m.

Sunday Mornings
8:45 a.m.


Dues of $40/year, 
plus a Friends membership 
($35 and up).


Gallants Channel
Annex of the North Carolina Maritime Museum
Gate 1
172 West Beaufort Road 
Beaufort, NC 28516




Each department of the museum has its followers and supporters. We encourage you to look through the current projects going on at the museum and decide which one is meaningful to you…

Collections Projects

Down Into the Depths
We are installing two new permanent exhibits in the main hall. “Down into the Depths” explores the subject of deep-sea diving, while the other tells the story of duck hunting through a display of part of the museum’s collection of decoys—an array that will change periodically so that visitors may enjoy their variety.

Initially, both exhibits will rely on loaned objects for part of their impact. While we do not anticipate an abrupt end to either loan period, we would prefer to replace these objects with items that belong to the museum, and are looking to our Friends for support.

Immediate needs for the two exhibits are:

A hard hat (or helmet-type) dive suit $6,000.00
Duck hunting paraphernalia (punt gun, ammunition boxes, etc.)  2,000.00

Watercraft Center Projects 

1. Rebuilding a 21’ Barbour inboard runabout
This runabout is North Carolina’s own Riva – fast, elegant and luxurious! When completed, it will become the prototype for the water taxis that will link downtown Beaufort with the museum’s Gallants Channel site. It requires completion of its structural rebuild and a new diesel engine.

2. Rebuilding the 42’ Barbour motoryacht “Stardust”
Barbour Boat Works built “Stardust” as Mr. R.R. Rivenbark’s personal motoryacht. Its elegant lines, gleaming white paint and varnished mahogany made it the pinnacle of the company’s products. “Stardust” was damaged by hurricanes before becoming part of the museum’s collection. We will rebuild the superstructure, refit the interior and install new diesel engines. Once restored, “Stardust” will become a splendid floating ambassador for North Carolina’s maritime heritage and the museum system.

3. The Nola Dare Project
“Nola Dare” was built in 1949 by Brady Lewis at Harkers Island. This 32-foot round stern fishing vessel is a very early example of a vessel with the famous “Harkers Island Flare Bow.”

After strenuous service in the commercial fishery and as a charter boat, “Nola Dare’s” condition has deteriorated to the point that restoration for further service would be prohibitively expensive. Instead, we have thoroughly documented “Nola Dare”, taking off the hull lines and recording its structure, so we can build a new “Nola Dare”.

The new vessel will faithfully duplicate “Nola Dare’s” original external appearance but will conform to all current US Coast Guard standards and will be powered using more environmentally friendly electric motors. The new boat also will duplicate the original construction methods so that its creation will serve as an effective education in traditional boatbuilding and celebrate the heritage of Harkers Island and its world-famous boat builders.

Educational Services Guide

Educational services of the North Carolina Maritime Museum are designed to interpret all aspects of the state’s diverse coastal natural history and rich maritime heritage.

The Museum Calendar lists programs, field trips, and special events for the general public. 

Educational services are offered to school, civic, and special needs groups.  They are designed for specific grade or age levels and are correlated with state science and social studies curricula guidelines.  See details below.   

  • Tours
  • Videos
  • Special Group Programs
  • Field Trips
  • Cape Lookout Studies Program

Annual programs: Summer Science School, Junior Sailing Program, Adult Learn to Sail Programs, Wooden Boat Show, and Watercraft Center Classes.




(3) CONTACT THE MUSEUM.  Reservations should be made at least two weeks before the planned visit.  Call between 8 AM and 4 PM Monday through Friday.  To e-mail, fax, or send a reservation request, include name, group name, mailing address, phone, fax, e-mail address, desired date and time for a visit and/or program.  Reservations should be made at least two weeks before the planned visit.  Call between 8 AM and 4 PM Monday through Friday.  To e-mail, fax, or send a reservation request, include name, group name, mailing address, phone, fax, e-mail address, desired date and time for a visit and/or program.   

Education Branch  
North Carolina Maritime Museum
315 Front Street
Beaufort, NC 28516
Tel: 252-728-7317
Fax: 252-728-2108
E-mail jo.powell@ncmail.net

When e-mailing the museum please include the following information:


*School or Organization

*Mailing address and zip code

*Telephone number and area code


Up to 60 students with chaperones may tour the exhibit area at one time.  Larger groups (up to 120 students) are divided and rotated between the exhibit area, an auditorium program, and the museum’s Watercraft Center.

After a group is scheduled, a confirmation form, bus parking information, and other requested materials are sent to the teacher/leader. 

If a change or cancellation is necessary or if the group is delayed, the museum must be notified as soon as possible. Groups arriving before or after scheduled times are accommodated as the museum schedule for other groups allows. 

There is no admission charge for tours and programs in the museum.  Field trip and outreach program fees are due the day of the trip/program.  Checks are made payable to the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

All student groups must have one teacher or chaperone per 10 students.  The chaperone is responsible for student behavior and discipline while in the museum.  Unsupervised students and unruly groups will be asked to leave.

Upon arrival, the teacher checks in at the museum reception desk while the students wait outside.  Buses may unload and load in the five-minute parking zone in front of the museum.  Bus parking maps (in JPEG format) are sent with confirmation of visit. 




SELF-GUIDED OR TEACHERLED TOURS of the exhibit area may be scheduled to begin weekdays from 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturdays from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday from 1 PM to 4 PM.    

Guide to the Museum is available at the reception desk for group leaders to use for self-guided tours.  

The Museum Treasure Hunts help students learn in the museum.  The Sea Hunt, a one-page hand-out, has pictures the group leaders use to help grades K-3 look for exhibit items (20 minutes).  Group leaders for grades 4 through high school use the questions listed on the Museum Treasure Hunt to help students learn about history and natural history featured in the exhibits (45 minutes).  

GUIDED TOURS are led by a museum guide and are tailored for each grade level.  (45 minutes; 20 students maximum). Monday-Friday 9 AM – 3 PM.  

DISCOVERY CARTSare stocked with marine specimens and nautical artifacts that can be handled and discussed.  Museum volunteers at each cart offer visitors the opportunity to learn more and ask questions about exhibits, coastal organisms, and maritime subjects.  Volunteers can accommodate 10 students at a cart at one time.  

VIDEOSare shown in the museum auditorium to supplement a study topic during a museum visit.  The museum can seat up to 60 students.  Monday‑Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM.  

Topics on coastal natural history:

1.  A Beautiful Day (K-2nd)  
Children explore the variety of organisms living in an estuary.  (14 minutes)  

2.  Waters of Life (2nd grade-adult)  
The unique features, natural history, and ecology of the N.C.’s estuaries. (17 minutes)  

3.  Trashing the Oceans (2nd grade‑adult)  
Problems and hazards of plastic trash in our oceans. (8 minutes)  

4.  Shadows in the Night: The Loggerhead Legacy (2nd grade-adult)  
The life of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle. (17 minutes)  

5.  Secrets of the Shark (3rd grade-adult)  
A close look at life histories and habits of sharks.  (30 minutes)  

6.  Life in a Salt Marsh (3rd grade-adult)  
The ecology and organisms of the salt marsh. (30 minutes)  

7.  Rivers of Sand: Exploring Barrier Islands (5th grade-adult)  
Features the dynamic beauty, wildlife, and ecology of barrier islands. (30 minutes)  

8.  Fire in the Longleaf (6th grade – adult)  
Explores the longleaf pine savannah. (12 minutes)  

9.  The Horses of Shackleford Banks (7th grade-adult)  
Population dynamics of feral horses on a barrier island near Beaufort, N.C. (17 minutes)  

Topics on earth science:

1.  Wind and Waves (5th grade-adult)  
The power of wind and waves sink ships, reshape coastlines, and affect worldwide climate. (30 minutes)  

2.  Undersea Oases: The Science of Hardbottoms (6th grade-adult)  
The geology and marine life on rocky outcrops along the continental shelf and their importance as a marine habitat. (15 minutes)  

Topics on social studies and maritime history:

1.  The Beaufort Inlet Shipwreck Project (3rd grade-adult)  
The search for Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s flagship that sank near Beaufort in 1718. (7 minutes.  A 60-minute video, Blackbeard’s Revenge, is available for groups with more time.)  

2.  Ports and Pilots (3rd grade-adult)  
A student learns first hand about the role of a harbor pilot at the Morehead City State Port. (25 minutes)  

3.  Ferry Boats (3rd grade-adult)  
A student learns first hand about ferry boats in coastal N.C. (25 minutes)  

4.  Down to the Monitor (4th grade-adult)  
The story of the Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor, and its rediscovery off Cape Hatteras. (25 minutes)  

5.  Chicamacomico (4th grade-adult)  
The history of a famous lifesaving station on the Outer Banks. (35 minutes)  

6.  Menhaden: Soybean of the Sea (4th grade-adult)  
This traditional coastal industry is illustrated from catching the menhaden to preparing fish oil and meal. (16 minutes)  

7.  Graveyard of the Atlantic and Pacific (5th grade-adult)  
A comparison of shipwreck history in two oceans. (30 minutes)  

SPECIAL GROUP PROGRAMSoffered in the museum or as outreach to schools and other organizations include slide presentations, narration, hands-on activities, and/or music. Tuesday‑Friday, 9 AM –3 PM.  

There is no charge for programs presented in the museum.  The fee is $30 for each outreach program presented within 50 miles of the museum.  Additional fees may include: $10 for every 50 miles beyond Beaufort and presenter expenses for meals and lodging (state rates).  

Environmental Education:

1.  Aquarium Animals  (K – 3rd grade)  
Presentation about the animals housed in the museum’s aquaria.  Students sit in the aquarium gallery to hear where the animals live, what foods they eat, and who their predators are. (15 minutes)  

2. Coastal Birds and Their Habitats  (K – adult)  
The common coastal birds of N.C., including habitats and identifying  characteristics.  (30-45 minutes)  

3.  Marsh Metaphors  (2nd – 8th grade)  
Plants and animals of the salt marsh and the functions of a wetland. (30 minutes)  

4.  Insect-Eating Plants  (2nd – 8th grades)  
Carnivorous plants and how they attract and capture prey.  (30 minutes)  

5.  The Fingerprints of Trees (2nd grade – adult)  
Examines coastal trees and their unique leaf shapes.  (30 minutes)  

6.  Marine Mammals  (3rd grade – adult)  
The life histories and conservation issues of dolphins and whales in N.C. waters.  (30 minutes)  

7.  Coastal Fossils and Geologic History of North Carolina (5th grade – adult) Geologic changes of the coastal plain and the fossil evidence of the last 60 million years.  (30-45 minutes)  

8.  Endangered Species – Endangered Habitat  (6th grade-adult)  
Discussion of human impact on biodiversity.  (30 minutes)  

9.  Exploring Ecosystems (6th grade-adult)  
A discussion of three important ecosystems of the Americas, the coastal salt marsh, high mountains, and tropical rainforest.  (45 minutes)  

10.  Global Environmental Issues  (6th grade – adult)  
Overview of the effects of human activities on the planet, especially the depletion of the world’s oceans, coastal population increase, and rising sea level.  (30 minutes)  

11.  Barrier Island Ecology  (6th grade – adult)  
The unique conditions for the plants and animals living on barrier islands.  (30 minutes)  

12.  Mysterious Mushrooms  (6th grade – adult)  
Diversity of mushrooms with tips on identification and edibility.  (30 – 40 minutes)  

13.  Edible Wild Plants  (6th grade – adult)  
Plants on the coastal plain that are edible or were used by early settlers. (30 – 40 minutes)  

14.   Wildflowers and Carnivorous Plants  (6th grade – adult)  
Unique plants that inhabit pocosins and pine savannahs on the coastal plain.  (30 – 40 minutes)  

North Carolina Maritime Culture and History:  

1.  Pirates of North Carolina (K – adult)  
A review of the history and lore of pirates, including an update on Blackbeard and his flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge.  (30 minutes)  

2.  Discoveries in the New World  (3rd grade – adult)  
Traces Columbus’ first voyages to the New World – weather, navigation, and animals and plants recorded during these explorations.  (40 minutes)  

3.  Portsmouth  (4th grade – adult)  
Life on Portsmouth Island on Core Banks in the early 1900s.  (20 minutes)  

4.  Life Along the Banks  (4th grade – adult)  
The history and natural resources of barrier islands of N.C.  (45 minutes)  

5.  Commercial Fisheries in North Carolina  (5th grade – adult)  
A review of oystering, shrimping, scalloping, and other important fisheries in coastal waters.  (30 minutes)  

6.  Rivers: Highways of History  (5th grade – adult)  
Traces the ecosystems and wildlife from the mountains to the sea as well as the use of boats on the waterways from the 1700s to present.  (30 minutes)  

7.  Nautical Artifacts (7th grade – adult)  
An exercise in learning about items that are used aboard ships.  Correlated with the 8th grade curriculum for Carteret County Schools.  

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION FIELD TRIPS are designed for classes studying coastal ecology or related science topics and are led by certified environmental educators.  (Monday-Friday, 9 AM-3 PM, March to November)  

Class size is limited for each trip and one chaperone for every 10 students is required.  

Tidal flat, salt marsh, and Rachel Carson Reserve trips are scheduled to coincide with a low tide and require walking in shallow water and mud.  

1.  Tidal Flat and Salt Marsh (preschool-adult, $30 fee)  
Investigate a sand flat and adjacent salt marsh to study intertidal organisms and their adaptations, food chains, productivity, and the estuarine nursery area.  A seine net is pulled in shallow water to view a sample of marine animals.  
(1˝ hours; maximum of 30 participants)  

2.  Beaufort Walk (4th grade – adult, $5 fee/adult, $2 fee/student, $30 minimum)  
Begin at the museum observation deck and take a walking tour of Beaufort to hear stories and view gardens and historic points of interest. (2 hours; maximum of 15 participants)  

3.  Rachel Carson Reserve  (4th grade-adult; $5 fee/person – $60 minimum fee for groups of 12 or fewer)  
This island component of the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserves provides opportunities to study dune plants, feral horses, and organisms of intertidal mud flats and sounds.  Participants cross Beaufort’s harbor by boat, wade in shallow water, and walk ˝ mile across a mud flat to the beach. (2˝ ‑3 hours; maximum of 30 participants)  

4.  Marine Life Collecting Cruise  (6th grade-adult; $200 fee)  
After an orientation in the museum participants board a research vessel equipped with sampling-sized commercial fishing gear to collect and observe estuarine and ocean organisms. Discussion focuses on species identification and natural history. (2˝ hours; maximum of 20 participants)    

5. Croatan National Forest  (5th grade-adult; $30 fee)  
Longleaf pine, pocosin, and pond habitats west of Morehead City provide the setting to study woodland organisms and their adaptations to the environment. Insect‑eating plants are highlighted. (2 – 3 hours; maximum of 20 participants)   

6.  Kayaking the Estuaries (7th grade – adult, $25 fee/ person)

Suitable for beginning to advanced kayakers.  Groups kayak through and study estuaries and learn about currents and tides, and navigation.  The program includes on hour of preparation/instruction; two hours of paddling; and 30 minutes of clean up. (3 ˝ hours; maximum of 10 participants, 4 person minimum).  

(8th grade-adult)  
This program offers opportunities for groups of up to 16 people to study barrier islands and estuarine environments while staying at the museum field station on Cape Lookout National Seashore.  Detailed information and a fee schedule are detailed on the website or available upon request.

Join or Renew Your Membership

Help Support the Museum with a 

There are many advantages to becoming a member of the Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

The reason the museum can provide a large variety of programs and exhibits for the community is largely due to member support.  State funding makes the museum possible.  Membership support enhances community outreach and the quality of exhibits and programs.

With membership support, we have helped the museum provide a high level of visitor service, education, and excitement for museum guests. You can be part of an exciting partnership to support the museum. You can join because you want to be part of preserving North Carolina’s rich maritime heritage and history. You can help support our efforts to foster curiosity and wonder at what we can learn from artifacts and interpretations from as long ago as three hundred years.

Be a part of the larger view of life through the ages on the North Carolina coast.
Join the North Carolina Maritime Museum today.

Get involved & make a difference.

All Members Receive:

  • 10% discount on most museum programs and museum store purchases.
  • Quarterly Newsletter
  • Quarterly Calendar
  • Monthly Email Newsletter
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Early Notice of Special Events
  • Bumper Sticker with the new North Carolina Maritime Museum logo.
  • Participation in “Members Only” Events and Programs.

Levels of Membership

Student – $10

Trade your membership fee for volunteer hours!  
(you must be under 21 to select this option)

Individual – $35

Priority notification of museum offerings.
Individual Discount on fee-based programs

Military Rate (Active) Individual – $20

Priority notification of museum offerings.
Individual Discount on fee-based programs.

Household – $75

Priority notification of museum offerings.
Discount on fee-based programs applies to entire family.

Military Rate (Active) Household – $60

Priority notification of museum offerings.
Discount on fee-based programs applies to entire family.

Benefactor – $300

Priority notification of museum offerings.
Discount on fee-based programs applies to entire family
Invitations to “Benefactor Only” programs and events.

Lifetime- $2,500

Lifetime membership benefits for you and your spouce.
Recognition of the Lifetime Membership plaque in the Museum Lobby.
Priority notification of museum offerings.
Discount on fee-based programs applies to entire family.
Advanced notice of and invitations to special programs and events.
Special gift.

Buy-a-Brick Program

Be a part of the “Signature Site” at the museums expansion site at Gallants Channel.

Remember parents, grandchildren, friends, and loved ones.  Your brick will be part of our courtyard on the waterfront, a future meeting place for all visitors to the museum.  Act now to be part of a permanent reminder of those who chose early to be a part of the North Carolina Maritime Museum’s expansion, and help preserve maritime history, marine ecology, and North Carolina’s rich maritime past.

$100 per individual brick

Military Insignia (optional)