Join Us!

Article on Museum’s work to open new building:

Click here for original article

Museum continues fund-raising for expanded cottage campus

The Bordeaux Cottage, built in 1924, was relocated to become part of the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History’s campus on Salisbury Street. Fund-raising to complete the renovation of the cottage is still underway. [HUNTER INGRAM/STARNEWS] Hunter Ingram
Posted Dec 8, 2019 at 6:01 AM

Wrightsville Beach History museum has relocated a 1924 beach cottage to expand its education, exhibit space in 2020

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH – When the great Wrightsville Beach fire of 1934 swept across the north end of the destination island, it spared only a few structures.

Among them was a small beach cottage built a decade earlier, which likely survived thanks to a well-placed berm and luck. As it approaches its centennial anniversary in the coming decade, the cottage is getting new lease on life as a relocated extension of the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.

In 2017, the Bordeaux Cottage was moved to the same Salisbury Street site as the museum’s current cottage building, itself a 1909 salvage. But the museum has far outgrown its 1,100 square-foot home, bursting at the seams with a growing collection — and ambition to live beyond its walls.

“My museum theory is that if all you are doing is keeping the doors open, you’re not really serving the community,” said museum director Madeline Flagler. “You’ve got to do programming and reach out to the community.”

The museum has done more of those programs in recent years, with walking tours and its Loop Through History program on the walking path. But it needed more space to showcase exhibits and hold programs.

The Bordeaux Cottage was the perfect solution.

“We have been in that little house for so long, hoping something else would come available but nothing had until this cottage,” she said. “When I first saw it, it was not in good shape. But it had all the architectural features you’d want for an old cottage. The bones were there, the charm was there.”

Want to help?

To contribute to the museum’s fundraising campaign, visit :

Named for its final resident and steward of historic preservation, Betty Bordeaux, the cottage is in the process of being outfitted for its introduction into what Flagler is calling a museum campus.

Inside the Bordeaux Cottage, the entrance room will be the Lumina Room, with panels on the famed Lumina Pavilion; a side room will be the Waterman Room, with exhibits on boating and fishing, as well as presentation space; and other exhibits will include a look at barrier islands and a generational reflection on family fun at the beach.

The back room, which will overlook the community tennis courts and playground, will be known as the Chris Stone Exploration Room for more hands-on activities and programs.

More than $200,000 in contributions have already been put toward the project, but the museum still needs to raise about $35,000 to complete its capital campaign and install electrical and lighting features in order to earn its certificate of occupancy. Staff would also like to install a lift, even though it not required due to its historic status.

“We want this to be open for the spring season,” Flagler said. “That’s why we are making as big a push as we can to move this along.”

Perhaps more pressing is having it up and running by December 2020 for the arrival of a special guest.

The new space made it possible for the museum to apply for new grants and exhibits through the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.. Its pitch secured it a spot on a traveling exhibit called Water/Ways, which explores water’s impact on human land use.

With its foot in the door, the museum also landed another Smithsonian grant called Stories: YES, which uses technology to record oral histories that will then become part of the Library of Congress’ permanent collection.

That grant focuses on the museum partnering with schools in Pender County to record digital stories from students about their personal recovery stories from Hurricane Florence.

“These children that have been through something that is traumatic and overwhelming and hard for them to grasp, but by doing this, they will at least know their piece of it will be part of a larger picture,” Flagler said.

After that project is completed, the Wrightsville Beach museum will be able to keep the equipment.

With more room to breathe and more opportunities already falling in place, Flagler said the Bordeaux Cottage, once funded and completed, will take the museum into a new decade with endless possibilities.

“This museum will be more dynamic than the current Myers Cottage,” she said. “People come in time and time again and they want to look at the model and talk about the things they remember and they like if things are in the same spot. But here, we will have so much more freedom to try new things.”




Wrightsville Beach Museum Gift Shop

Has Everything You Need for Holiday Gift-Giving!


NEW gift items! Gift wrapping!!

Browse the museum gift shop under twinkling lights as Christmas music fills the air while you find treasures
to fill stockings and Santa’s sack!!!


Port City Totes, Holly Aiken, Re-Eco tea towels, Jackie Z Jewelry, Handmade Journals,

Sea Love Sea Salts, Hank Carter Photography

Coastal Kia is our title sponsor for the 2019 Jingle Bell  5K Run!!
Fleet Feet is our Packet Pick Up Sponsor!


Silver :


In Kind – Food and Beverage: Beach Bagels

L&L Tent Rentals



Please include us in your End-of-Year giving!

Join in support of your favorite non-profit! GIVE NOW!

Please use the donation button on this page to donate to the museum and help us reach our End-of-Year goal. We are SO close!

We want to:

  • Gain Certificate of Occupancy for the Bordeaux Cottage to open its doors in April
  • Hold more Winter and Spring programs for all ages
  • Get ready for the Smithsonian Institute’s traveling exhibit: Water/Ways and present our Smithsonian Stories program
Please DONATE  NOW!!! 

THANK YOU Friends of Wrightsville Beach!!! The Reunion this year brought in $4,500.00 to benefit the Bordeaux Cottage Waterman Room.


Wrightsville Beach Museum Selected for Two Smithsonian ProgramsWW logo

We are happy to announce that the museum has been selected to be one of six hosts in NC for the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street (MoMS) “Water/Ways” traveling exhibit, and one of twenty participants in the 2020 Stories: YES program!

“Water/Ways” will be on-site from December 2020 – January 2021. Check out the press release with more information:


IN THE NEWS! The museum is in an article in Forbes!   The article is on the Blockade Runner. The museum is mentioned as  “one of Wrightsville Beach gems.”

We are proud to announce that Rhesa Stone and Camp Chris Stone have raised the funds to name the Bordeaux Cottage Exploration Room, The Chris Stone Exploration Room!! THANK YOU!!!!

Winter beach season is upon us, but we still have a lot going on at the Wrightsville Beach Museum –

Upcoming Events:           Yes, we are BUSY!! –

December 5th  at  5:30pm  Museum Gift Shop Open House! Lots of new items! Gift Wrapping!!

December- 14th Annual Jingle Bell Run

Be in touch any time! We love hearing from you!!

Come by:

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

PO Box 584/303 West Salisbury Street

Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480


Phone: 910-256-2569


tri fold 5.17.18 floor plans
The 1924 Bordeaux Cottage transformation is almost done. Come by and take a look at the progress we are making!

4.27.18 a4.17.18 bLowering BC April 17, 2018 Golly, I Feel GoodLowering BC April 17, 2018 South Side

The 1924 Bordeaux Cottage has been being used all last summer by Camp Chris Stone!!!! The interior has been painted! We are SO close!

We proudly announce that Rhesa Stone and Camp Chris Stone have raised the funds to name the Bordeaux Cottage Exploration Room, The Chris Stone Exploration Room!! THANK YOU!!!!


Saving an historic building – The 1924 Ewing- Bordeaux Cottage, originally located at 405 N. Lumina Avenue, along with its neighbor, the Williams-Bordeaux, were the oldest fully-intact structures  north of Stone Street. They are the last two of six cottages that survived the Great Fire of 1934. Currently the greatest threat to historic cottages is the steady rise in property values and demand for development. Moving the Ewing- Bordeaux Cottage saved a rare example of local Wrightsville Beach architecture of which only a handful remain and transition it into a public building to be enjoyed on a much wider scale.

Growing the museum Not only has moving the Ewing-Bordeaux cottage allowed the Wrightsville Beach Museum to preserve this special building, but it also made it possible for the Museum to expand its programs, exhibits and other services to the community. The cottage is allowing our growing project, the Waterman Hall of Fame, to have a permanent home to celebrate water sports and professions that are so important to our community and celebrate those who make positive contributions to our way of life. This is an exciting time in the life of the museum as this cottage allows us to grow our outdoor teaching spaces and indoor experiential learning resources.

See the video of the move!: