The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, located in Hatteras Village, catalogues the role the waters just off of the Outer Banks have played in maritime history from colonization times to the present day. Particular emphasis has been placed on the period from 1524 through 1945. The museum tells the story of this most dangerous stretch of ocean, where over 600 ships now find to be their final resting place deep beneath the surface be it a result of violent storm and the ever shifting Diamond Shoals or of a wartime encounter.
The museum first opened in 2002 while work continued through 2007. The museum is a public, non-profit, educational institution. The museum is divided into three galleries: Exploration, Transportation and Commerce; Piracy and Warfare, and finally Discovery, Research and Interpretation.
The Exploration, Transportation and Commerce gallery documents the early explorations of the coast and attempts at colonization, along with the roles of the lighthouses and lifesaving stations along the Outer Banks.
The Piracy and Warfare gallery investigates the time when pirates took refuge in the Outer Banks as well as the role this area played in the Civil War, including the sinking of the USS Monitor.
The Discovery, Research and Interpretation gallery reviews the periods of World War I and II, including the affects of the German submarine fleet and the U.S. response to it. It also examines current retrieval technologies and recovery processes.
The museum building is also unique, as the entrance is in the shape of timbers that created the hulls of the many ships now resting in the waters just off the coast of the Outer Banks.
The museum is located near the Ocracoke ferry terminal on Coast Guard Road in the Village of Hatteras. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 4:00. Admission is free, but donations would be appreciated to help support the continued build out of the exhibits.
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