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Core Sound Museum to Reopen Friday

The exterior of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island.

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center on Harkers Island will open at 10 a.m. Friday, after being closed since the September 2018 Hurricane Florence that caused millions of dollars in damage to the building.

“It’s been a long road, but with the help of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars in contributions, we are home – stronger than ever,” museum director Karen Amspacher said.

Hurricane Florence damage repairs ended up costing about $3.4 million because of roof damage and the 30 inches of rain that led to major mold infestation, according to a release Monday. Immediately after, all museum contents were removed to avoid damage to the artifacts, collections and equipment that had all safely survived the storm.

“It was a museum nightmare,” said Pam Morris, collections manager for the museum. “We have all our belongings stored from here to Charlotte, but everything is back now, safe and sound, and it is amazing to see it all together again.”

Core Sound has undergone a complete rework on the inside with new exhibitions, an expanded education area and updated community exhibits. Experiences at Core Sound range from a Coast Guard display in the tower to a documentary of 120 years of hurricane history in the side gallery, with a new waterfowl hunting exhibition in the main Core Sound Heritage gallery.

“Our insurance paid off and we’ve had help from many sources including the Golden Leaf Foundation, the Cannon Foundation, the State of North Carolina and many others, but it has been the generosity and commitment of our members and our community that has allowed us to maintain operations, programming and events during this extended recovery period. We could not have done it without them,” Amspacher said.

While the building was undergoing repairs, the museum operated from 806 Arendell St. in Morehead City, and the outreach location will continue to feature a Museum Store, an art gallery, Core Sound quilters room, art classes, children’s programming, and the headquarters for all museum activities.

“We will be keeping 806 as our Outreach location now that we are back in the museum. This location will help us introduce visitors to the county to Core Sound and that will be important as we reopen. The museum is truly ‘at the end of the road’ on Harkers Island and sometimes it takes real encouragement to get folks to make the trip,” Amspacher explained. “We are determined to retain the important place Core Sound’s 806 location has become and we will continue to use that space as a preview of the good work happening ‘at the end of the road. ‘”

Plans were to open the museum April 1 but the coronavirus closures delayed that schedule and canceled plans for a month-long celebration of events. The museum will open Friday, in compliance with all COVID-19 guidelines and will reschedule events later in the summer when crowd limits will allow.

Hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.  Hours at 806 Arendell St. are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call the museum at 252-728-1500, visit or email

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.