Currituck Maritime Heritage Projects
Located in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Currituck County is home to an array of important maritime heritage sites. Situated between Virginia and the lower Outer Banks, the only access to the area was by boat until the early 1800s when an inlet closed, limiting access to the coast, and dramatically altering the environment. Nevertheless, a unique sound-focused maritime culture evolved centered on the movement of goods and people across Currituck Sound. Such an immersion in coastal life created a rich maritime cultural history.
In order to preserve this history, two Outer Banks organizations, the UNC-Coastal Studies Institute and the Whalehead Preservation Trust, began a collaborative partnership in 2012 focused on education, outreach, and research projects.
Since its creation, a number of maritime heritage projects have been undertaken such as a remote sensing project at Currituck Beach Lighthouse, documented a number of historic small watercraft, and investigating pieces of a mysterious wreck found at Waterlily. Many of the projects occurred through collaborations with organizations in eastern North Carolina such as Outer Banks Conservationists LLC and East Carolina University. The program also heads events such as seminars and public education activities to educate the local communities on Currituck’s extensive maritime history. To learn more, visit the Currituck County Maritime Heritage Project website.