Below are a few of our Projects we have ongoing here at the Museum. Your donations help create and maintain many of our projects. Clcik on the photos to see enlargements.


Eighty Two years ago an Ocracoke fisherman, Stacy Howard, commis­sioned a master boat-builder, Tom Neal, to begin building him a fine new fishing boat. The work was finished by another island boat-builder, Homer Howard, who added a rounded cabin near the prow. Proud of his well-designed craft–a traditional deadris­er—Stacy Howard gave it the name of his teenaged daugh­ter, Blanche. (He had another boat, the “Lela”, named for his older daughter.) Blanche Howard Joliff, now in her nineties, still remembers how happy she was when her fa­ther named the boat for her.

The “Blanche”, now belonging to the Ocracoke Preservation Society, was once more the object of much sawing and hammering, as boat-build­ers and volunteers set out to restore her to her former glory. (Boats are tradition­ally referred to in the femi­nine gender.) Craig Wright, a boat-builder at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC, was commis­sioned to oversee the work. He, along several volunteers from the Maritime Museum, worked with Ocracoke vol­unteers Tom Wright and Tom Payne to replace the rotten wood in the deck, the rub-rails, the washboards and the gunwales, and apply a new coat of paint. With the work near completion, the Blanche looks great!

Today she sits in a wooden cradle in the yard of the Oc­racoke Museum, where she serves as an exhibit of Oc­racoke’s maritime heritage. Her story provides a fasci­nating look at the island’s fishing traditions from the 1930s until 2006. In that year, the “Blanche” was donated to the museum by another island fisherman, James Bar­rie Gaskill (the son of one of the boat’s former owners) and since then she has shown how, through contributions of time, hard work, and money, a community can save and pre­serve a part of its culture.

Stern of The Blanche Inside The Blanche Hull The Blanche
 Blanche Bow  Blanche Gunwale  Blanche Keel


Robbie’s Way

In 2000, the heirs of Charles and Robbie Runyon’s estate decided to honor their parents by deeding a 15-foot wide access way to the Pamlico Sound from the south side of the island (Down Point) to OPS. We keep it passable and available as one of the few remaining publicly accessible paths to the Sound. Charles and Robbie were committed to preserving the unique lifestyle and environment we are accustomed to here on Ocracoke. The path is heavily wooded and provides a nice covered walkway to the Sound, you might even see some Joe Bells blooming near the beach entrance.

 Robbie's Way Path  Robbie's Way at the Soundside  Robbie's Way looking towards road