Beachcomber Museum approaches historic move - Outer Banks Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

Beachcomber Museum approaches historic move

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Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 9:00 pm

The Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum, 4008 S. Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head, will host its 15th annual Thanksgiving Open House on Friday, Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is now open on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And Sunday, Dec. 17, for the Celebration of Flight at the Wright Brothers Memorial.

      When the Old Nags Head landmark closes for the 2017 season, a new chapter in the museum’s history will begin. The museum is housed in one of two structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004: Mattie Midgette’s 20th-century store, built in 1914, and her residence, dating to the late 1890s. Both were once integral to the Nags Head colony where they were originally located on the soundfront when they were erected, and they remained a vital part of the community in the 1930s when they were moved by famed Nags Head builder Samuel J. Twine to their present-day location on Virginia Dare Trail.

Donations are being accepted through Dec. 5. To contribute visit…/an-outer-banks-treasure-washing

      Supported by individual donors, museum owners and stewards Dorothy Hope and Chaz Winkler are raising funds now through early December with an Indiegogo Crowd Funder campaign, to move the two structures 150 yards southwest to a new site: Milepost 13 on the N.C. 158 Bypass. The new site has been named the Carmen Gray Coastal Heritage and Habitat Preserve after Midgette’s granddaughter and Beachcomber Museum founder.

      Moving the store and house to the pristine seashore habitat will foster a unique sense of place for visitors through educational experiences and programs for all ages. The new location will also provide space for parking, restrooms, and an ADA compliant entrance not practical at the current location.

      May 2018 is the target re-opening of the museum. The date has been chosen to coincide with the 100th birthday observance of the life of Nellie Myrtle Pridgen. For 60 years Pridgen combed the oceanfront, the soundfront and the sand dunes to harvest, cull and curate the museum’s priceless collection of whalebones, fossils, shipwreck timbers, maritime relics and unrivaled sea glass treasures.

      To learn more about the museum, visit

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