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Hatteras & Ocracoke Area Features

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Photo Credit: Nancy Hall

Not every visitor to the Outer Banks has been lured by sun, surf, spectacular beaches, and world-class fishing! Some were victims of pirates, wreckers and privateers. Others were washed ashore when nor’easters and hurricanes broke their vessels on the shoals. Some came with dreams of conquest. Others simply disappeared.

The waters off the Outer Banks are among the most dangerous in the world. So many ships and lives have been lost along these shores, the area is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”  More than two thousand shipwrecks and four hundred years of state, national, and international history lie off this coast. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is dedicated to preserving this vital aspect of our heritage for present and future generations.

Adjacent to the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Landing at 59200 Museum Drive in historic Hatteras Village, the 19,000-sq.ft. museum incorporates large wooden beams and graceful curved lines reminiscent of the 17th-, 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century ships that rest off the Banks. Built to withstand catastrophic weather, the museum proved its mettle during Hurricane Isabel.

The museum houses engaging, interactive displays including: the original Cape Hatteras Lighthouse First order, Fresnel lens; artifacts from the USS Monitor, the story of General Billy Mitchell and the role of Hatteras in the development of airpower; the enduring mystery of the Ghost Ship Carroll A. Deering; and Hatteras Island's fascinating connection to the Titanic!  Exhibitions focus on: piracy, the crucial role of Hatteras in the early months of the Civil War, the unique lifeways of a watermen community, the beginnings of deep sea recreational fishing, the evolution of diving equipment, a restored Monomoy Surfboat and deeds of remarkable heroism by Outer Banks surfmen, the results of the devastating, unrestricted submarine warfare during World Wars I and II, and much more.

The museum offers educational programs, lectures, and special events for all ages. For hours of operation, please call 252-986-0721 or visit www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com

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