The Friends of the Museum supports the NC Maritime Museum in continuing North Carolina’s rich maritime heritage. Visit the two branches of the NC Maritime Museum, located in Beaufort and Southport, and enjoy exciting events and outstanding programs for all ages.

Children’s Summer Classes

Summer Classes for children are held each June through August.Contact the museum for brochures and applications.  We do not take reservations for classes, programs, or field trips by email.

The Junior Sailing Program, sponsored by the Friends of the Museum, is for ages 8-15. The program teaches seamanship, navigation, boating safety, and sailing techniques to beginning and intermediate sailors. Students sail International Optimist Dinghies or Vanguards during the two-week sessions and final Regatta Week.

Summer Science School for Children is designed for entering 1st-10th graders to investigate the coastal environment and maritime history of NC. Day classes range from pirates, boat models and mariners, underwater archaeology, seashore life, fishing, fossils, kayaking, surfing, to saltwater science. Overnight classes on barrier island wildlife and sea turtles are offered at Cape Lookout. 

Museum Treasure Hunt

A Teacher-Led-Tour of the North Carolina Maritime Museum

  • Use the Museum Treasure Hunt to explore North Carolina’s natural and maritime heritage. Take a few minutes to explore each exhibit, and then ask the group these questions. 
  • Groups must be divided into smaller groups of ten or fewer students and assigned a chaperone to discuss the questions. Each small group may start at any exhibit, but must stay together while in the museum.


  • These are models of real fish–life-size and life-like. What are other kinds of models you know about?
  • What fish do you see that you have caught? read about? learned about? 
  • Which is the most interesting fish you see? 
  • Even though two animals here are called a dolphin, how are they different?
  • Describe similarities and differences between a sea turtle and a land turtle—their shells, where they spend their life, how their feet differ, where they lay eggs? 
  • What are some items found on the shipwreck believed to be Blackbeard’s flagship (the ship that carries the fleet commander and bears his flag)? 
  • What are some problems created when we throw trash into the water?

Exhibit Hall


  • What kinds of fossil animals are found in coastal North Carolina?
  • Find the name of one invertebrate, one marine vertebrate, and one land animal.

N.C. Working Watercraft

  • What types of boats were used in North Carolina waters in the 1700s and 1800s? 
  • What were some uses for boats before the 1900s? 
  • How are boats used today? 
  • What is the North Carolina state boat? 
  • Note the construction of the Core Sound Sharpie suspended from the ceiling.

Commercial Fishing

  • Whaling was a means of making money along the barrier islands of North Carolina from the 1600s through the early 1900s. What two products were made from or taken from whales. 
  • What fishing industries were part of North Carolina’s commercial fishing history of the 1800s? 
  • Point out some of different methods and equipment fishermen use to catch fish? 
  • What kind of boats and nets are used to catch shrimp?
  • Find the purse boats on the large menhaden fishing boat model. These boats put out the net, surround the fish, then pull the school together like the drawstring of a purse.  What products were made from the menhaden?

Waterfowl Decoys of North Carolina (exhibit in progress)

  • Find three different types of waterfowl hunted in eastern North Carolina.
  • Where do these birds spend the summer? Winter?

Down to the Depths (exhibit in progress)

  • What was this bell used for? Where?
  • How were deep sea diving suits used? Where did their air supply come from?

Venomous snakes

  • What types of poisonous snakes are found in eastern North Carolina?
  • Note the habitats where each lives and what each snake eats.

Coastal Marine Life (due to budget cuts aquariums are temporarily shut down)

  • Name several kinds of fish that you find in the aquariums and exhibits. 
  • Find the animals that live in a shell? 
  • Find two ways animals can protect themselves with colors and patterns. 
  • Fouling organisms are those that attach to a hard surface. Name two places where animals and plants can find a hard surface in the water. 
  • Can you find two animals that burrow for protection? 
  • Find an animal that is camouflaged to capture prey (food) or hide from enemies (predators).
  • What are some ways a bird is adapted to its environment? 
  • What are some threats to coastal waters from upstream activities? 
  • What is one way that seaweeds protect themselves from being eaten by fish? 
  • NC has a great variety of beautiful shells. What are some ways these shells can be grouped?
  • Name two mollusks that lay egg cases?

Throw away the Oars – Outboard Motors

  • How are the motors arranged? 
  • What are some items in the workshop that tell you it is not from the 1800s? 
  • Do you think it is a working shop of today? What are your reasons? 
  • The Silver Clipper was one of the first types of motorboats used just for enjoyment. What are some boats used today for recreation?

Solders of Surf and Storm—Lighthouses & Lifesaving

  • Find the lighthouse lens and count how many pieces of angled glass make up the light. Why do you think it is built this way? How far away could this light be seen?
  • What were some responsibilities of lighthouse keepers? 
  • What are some ways that people were rescued from ships and brought to shore in the late 1800s? 
  • Name some ways people are rescued and brought to safety from ships in distress at sea today?


  • Do you know an important star that is used for navigation?
  • What is the name of the instrument used for navigation by the stars?
  • What imaginary lines on the earth are used for navigation?

Queen Anne’s Revenge

During The Golden Age of Piracy (1689-1718), numerous rogues pursued their lawless and murderous trade throughout the New World. Restrictive laws passed by the British Parliament had made smuggling acceptable and even desirable in North Carolina and the other American colonies. Preying upon lightly armed merchant ships, the pirates seized their contents and sometimes killed those who resisted. Because of its shallow sounds and inlets, North Carolina’s Outer Banks became a haven for many of these outlaws in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort is the Department of Cultural Resource’s designated repository for all archaeological artifacts and project records from the wreck presumed to be the Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR).

The Museum staff fully embrace their responsibilities associated with the QAR project. The museum’s professional educators and curators recognize the potential of the QAR collection to serve as a catalyst to generate great excitement and interest in North Carolina’s earliest maritime history and heritage. The QAR is the most significant underwater archaeological site yet discovered in the Americas. The museum’s staff recognizes that the professional exhibition and interpretation of this unique collection will help drive the museum’s education mission while promoting economic development via heritage tourism across North Carolina’s Coastal Plain.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is charged with managing the QAR collection. All artifacts and records are to be kept as an intact collection. The storing, exhibiting, and interpreting of all QAR artifacts is to be managed by the Museum. The vessel structure, ship’s fittings, weapons, personal effects, and non-precious cargo are to become part of the Museum’s permanent collection, with long-term collection care and conservation also the responsibility of the Museum.