Last updated: 3/16/2012
Harkers Island, North Carolina
Street Address
1785 Island Road
Harkers Island, NC 28531
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 556
Harkers Island, NC 28531
phone: 252-728-1500
Mon. - Sat , 10 - 5, Sun 2 - 5
Free (Recommended Donation of $5.00 per family)
Museum Type(s)
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Karen Willis Amspacher, Director
phone: 919-728-1500
Ann Kelly, Education and Volunteer Coordinator
phone: 252-728-1500

Discover a simpler way of life through cultural and historic exhibits from North Carolina's coastal villages. Explore boatbuilding exhibits and workshops. Browse our extensive decoy collection as well as educational exhibits about waterfowling. Learn through workshops, exhibits and activities for all ages. Enjoy wetland trails and an observation tower that gives an upclose view of the land that shapes a way of life.


To establish a facility that will enhance the community, state and region by creating a resource which brings together the historical, cultural, artistic, environmental and educational elements needed to preserve the rich waterfowl heritage of eastern North Carolina associated with the Core Sound area.


The beginning ...

Decoy making has long been an established tradition in coastal North Carolina. Like other everyday activities that become obsolete with a changing lifestyle, the practice of turning wood into ducks had been taken for granted, ignored, possibly even forgotten. What was once an everyday practice might have become extinct had it not been for those whose love and appreciation for the art had been passed down through generations and outweighed the changes taking place around them.

In waterfowl areas across the country organizations have successfully established museums that serve as regional centers for perpetuating folk art and occupational traditions. These facilities serve as heritage centers for documenting and preserving each area's unique history, at the same time become important hallmarks in preserving the local traditions that give each its own sense of place through the interpretation of its cultural and natural history. Through the story of Core Sound waterfowling heritage the museum has expanded its mission to include the CORE SOUND STORY ... the history of its communities, the perpetuation and support of its local craftsmen, the importance of protecting its natural resources and all the traditions that make up this coastal way of life.

A Place ...

To accomplish these goals, a facility was needed. The groundwork for such a resource in eastern Carteret County in February of 1992. The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, Inc. was created and a 21-member Board of Directors was appointed including carvers, area businessmen, and local government representatives. The first meeting took place in March where a preliminary proposal for a museum project was presented. After investigating all the undeveloped sites on the island it was determined that a tract of land within the National Park Service property at Shell Point provided the greatest potential for a museum project. It was decided to pursue a lease agreement with Cape Lookout National Seashore as a building site for the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum.

At Last ...

Today, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center continues its year round operation with a generous membership of nearly 3000 from across the state and region, a dedicated staff and board, hundreds of volunteers and a working partnership with Cape Lookout National Seashore. The work continues and the challenges are many, but the history of this organization tells the story of men and women who are dedicated to the vision this institution has set forth to serve this community as a "keeper" of the past, a "gathering place" for our communities today and a "visionary" that will make sure that future generations will never forget the truest meaning of Core Sound heritage.

Educational Programs

Exhibitions, Gallery Tours, Workshops, Public Programs, School Programs, Educators Guide, etc.


Lecture Halls


Access: General Public

Appointment required: No


CSWM&HC Annual Report


Wheelchair Accessible


Gift Shop

Online Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Group Tours

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We are a design and fabrication shop that encourages play in museums, organizations and brands so they may spread the roots of their mission. Play is a powerful tool because it tests assumptions, makes connections and establishes a positive emotional memory to concepts. Incorporating play (interactives) in your project can actually boost diversity, loyalty and engagement which will ultimately strengthen your mission.

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