Originally a boathouse used to build world-record–holding speedboats, this building has seen a variety of boat-building uses in its day. The building’s double-wide doors and barn-like roominess create the perfect setting for this working boathouse museum. The Roanoke Island Maritime Museum is a treasure-trove of local seafaring history. Come inside for a look at some locally built boats and possibly to see boat building in the process. Whatever you see, you’ll learn about the island’s traditional boats, what they were used for and how they were used. On the water, you’ll see a variety of traditional watercraft, the most noteworthy of which is the reproduction North Carolina shad boat, The Spirit of Roanoke Island, built by museum volunteers. Head over to the boathouse to see the Ella View, an original shad boat built in 1883 by George Washington Creef, the boathouse’s namesake. It’s free to tour this museum and talk with the volunteers and staff.
The museum has a number of programs and workshops to celebrate maritime heritage. Shallowbag Bay Sail-Abouts and Open Sails are offered on Tuesdays starting at 6 p.m. throughout the summer, weather permitting. Youth Sailing Programs at the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum are also presented from mid-June through early August for kids ages 8 to 16. Call for more information about these or other activities, and to register in advance for sailing programs or Open Sails. The museum also hosts a regional One-Design Sailing Regatta in July and a Wooden Boat Show in October.