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Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center Beaufort Attractions
1785 Island Rd.
Harkers Island, NC

(252) 728-1500

Nestled at "the end of the road" on Harkers Island, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center was established in 1992 and is a true grassroots partnership. For more than a decade the Waterfowl Museum has been a clearinghouse for heritage, traditions, and history of the Down East communities of Carteret County — a hub for heritage tourism. Exhibits and programs focusing on local heritage are offered year round, and the museum houses the area's finest collection of carvings and waterfowl art. The museum archives oral histories and artifacts from the Down East communities. Museum staff offers programs for school groups, bus tours, church trips and others. Call to schedule a tour and plan for a real "Down East" experience with local carvers, boat builders, storytellers, and musicians.

In 2009 the completed Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center fully opened its doors, with three floors of displays of local artifacts, writings, and photographs covering each of the Down East communities. When you walk through the main doors of the facility, you stop first at the Smith Family Gathering Room with its large red leather sofas and rocking chairs, perfect for "setting a spell," as they say here in the South. Just behind the Smith Family room is the Robert T. Monk Library, a wonderful resource for local history, water-fowling and natural history reading. Once you've traversed the exhibits, you can take the elevator up to its final destination of the top floor outside overlook, with its unobstructed view right out to the Cape Lookout lighthouse.

Willow Pond, a 4-acre freshwater centerpiece of the museum's environmental education program, is directly behind the museum. This interpretive trail and habitat viewing area has been restored in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the Conservation Fund, N.C. Wildlife Commission, N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation and the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Each December the museum hosts the Core Sound Waterfowl Weekend (see our Annual Events chapter). The weekend celebrates the entire community with preview events ranging from wild-game feasts to boat-building demonstrations, community church services and children's activities along with the mid-Atlantic region's finest carvers, artists and writers. Core Sound Waterfowl Weekend has grown to encompass the entire island, beginning with the decoy show at the elementary school. Food sales benefit the Core Sound Decoy Carver's Guild and Harkers Island Elementary School.

Members enjoy free admission, otherwise, there is a suggested donation for visiting the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 2 to 5 PM. The museum is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and for three days at Christmas. Membership categories start at $15 for students and teachers and benefits vary based on the amount of contribution.


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