We have moved a 1924 cottage, one of the last surviving examples of original Wrightsville Beach architecture, to the last Town spot designated for saving a historic home. This expansion of our campus will allow us to better preserve and tell the story of Wrightsville Beach and provide us vital space to continue to grow our programming and outreach, connecting our history to our community and visitors.
You have helped us move. Now watch us grow.
In the almost 22 years of the museum’s existence, we have never had a capital campaign. When the museum began, we had a donation of stock and a couple of $10,000 contributions all of which made the existence of the museum possible. Currently we receive an occasional small grant, but we run on 3 annual fundraisers and annual memberships and donations. We receive no town or county funding. This museum needs this capital campaign to continue its work and to grow into its potential as a thriving community resource.
This museum’s board has made it clear that they are intent on seeing the museum evolve. There is no interest here in being a dusty, stagnant, static entity. We are committed to telling the story of Wrightsville Beach by bringing the narrative to life in a way that is vibrant, engaging and exciting. We are committed to extending our reach to an ever-wider range of ages and demographics.
About 10 years ago the board and staff took a breath after a time of working to launch and establish this small museum. We had slowed to holding no fundraisers or outreach. We were keeping the doors open, but little else. We created a plan for the future and now have several well-established fundraisers and a wide range of outreach programs from talks at Brightmore, to monthly free children’s programs. We have under our umbrella Camp Chris Stone and have created the museum’s Waterman Hall of Fame. We began to address the limitations of our 2000 square feet of the interior museum and porches. In the past two years we created self-guided walking tours of the historic district and The Loop, a Town Scavenger Hunt, a Loop Through History signage program, and a guided walking tour of Harbor Island.
Then, in January 2017 we received the unexpected but exciting news that the 1924 Bordeaux Cottage would NOT be torn down, but donated to the museum. We have had a relatively short time to plan and implement this capital campaign while running our active museum, but we are in many ways VERY prepared to fully embrace the opportunities that this new space gives us. We have spent a great deal of time over the past 3 or 4 years envisioning what we want the museum to do and be. We are ready for all the potential that this expansion of the museum campus will offer.
We are planning the areas that the expanded campus will provide. We will have
The Waterman Room with open space that can hold a variety of types of movable exhibit panels and can also be used for showing movies and hold talks.
The Lumina Room will have our outstanding new Lumina exhibit and the museum’s current centerpiece model of the beach. Here we will have rotating exhibits that link our past to our present.
There is an Exploration Corner for more hands-on activities.
The building was raised in its original location providing parking for the cottage. We will use this area for storage, display, classes and demonstrations. Here we will have:
The Clubhouse – Living history in traditional museums means dressing in period clothing and demonstrating heritage arts. In this ground-level space we will bring this idea into the present. We will have current professionals and artisans demonstrating their skills and knowledge: a boatbuilder fitting planks over the ribs of a boat, a fisherman weaving a shrimp or fish net, a shaper making a surfboard. One program we will have here will be a monthly How Did You Do That? on heritage maritime traditions that are directly linked to local coastal life and history.
Investigation Classroom – This will be a more enclosed area for more traditional classroom work, as well research and hands-on activities. Four new exhibit panels in the classroom will complement the planned programming by featuring skills and traditions of our local maritime heritage. Boats: Boat building skills, tools and materials and sails and knot tying. Fishing: Deep-sea, net fishing, piers, surf fishing. Fishing gear and boats. Local fish and where to find them. Navigation: Constellations and the sextant. Charts. GPS and new technology. Shellfishing: Types of local shellfish. Methods and tools used to harvest. Modern shellfishing methods: farms and leased lots.
Outboard Motor Exhibit – The museum has several vintage outboard motors in storage that would make a very interesting display now that we will have space for them.
Wash-off area and cubbies – for use during Camp Chris Stone and other outdoor exploration activities such as Elementary Explorations and Kids Club.
Storage area – to store equipment and supplies as needed.