Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center Launches Port Light

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center Launches Port Light

A project about the Saltwater Highways of the Outer and Inner Banks

"My grandmother said the most lonesome thing she ever heard was a rooster crowing on a freight boat early in the morning." — Al Schmitt, Great-Grandson of a Freight Boat Captain

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center announces the launch of Port Light, an engaging and interactive multimedia online exhibition that explores the life of historic boats on North Carolina’s Outer and Inner Banks. The project captures the rich history of the trade, civic, and kin connections that extended across the sounds of North Carolina from the Outer Banks to mainland ports. From the first tenuous Colonial settlements to the viable fishing villages of the early to mid-twentieth century, boats were the primary mode of transportation and key to the development of early America. Port Light brings to life the forgotten stories of 12 individual boats through written historical summary, oral history audio, and archival photography. The digital exhibition features an interactive map that details the routes of the boats.

Port Light is suitable for all audiences, especially those with local connections or visitors seeking historical perspectives, but was also specifically designed as an educational resource for classroom use. Curriculum guides tailored towards the NC Standard course of study — written specific for the 8th grade social studies curriculum — can be used can be used comprehensively as a unit or abbreviated by selecting preferred components.

"Core Sound’s commitment to collecting and sharing the voices of our coastal communities with visitors, long-time residents, natives and even folks who have never experienced this part of the world, is at the heart of this collective effort, " Karen Amspacher, Director of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center. "We are especially determined to make sure the next generation learns to appreciate these wonderful accounts of a different way of life along this coast and that is why the curriculum component of this project is so important. We sincerely hope that teachers across the state will incorporate these primary sources in their classroom."

8th grade Manteo Middle School teacher, Mary Ann Hodges, observed that her students "had fun finding out lesser known history about this area" while using the Port Light resources and lesson plans in her classroom. "Several students were inspired to go beyond the assigned project and created community stories that reflected their own family histories. The link between home and school is becoming stronger, and that's always a good thing."

Port Light was funded by the National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program. Principal researchers were Susan West, a fisheries specialist and journalist from Buxton, North Carolina, Barbara Garrity-Blake, a cultural anthropologist from Gloucester, North Carolina, and Karen Amspacher, Director of the Core Sound Museum. Project partners include the Bit & Grain creative project team that designed the digital exhibit and Dare County, North Carolina, School Media Specialist Mollee Holloman, who developed the Port Light curricula for North Carolina 8th graders.