Welcome to the
Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum
Home of the
Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Collection
Update, October 27, 2016:
Speaking about this historic site
at the time of its listing in the
National Register of Historic Places,
Outer Banks historian David Stick said:
"Let’s put it this way, I would say next to Jockey’s Ridge
and the Wright Brothers Memorial, it is the most
historically significant place on the northern Outer Banks"
Mattie Midgette's Store
"In old Nags Head, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is an important piece of history that could soon be lost to the fury of an Atlantic hurricane.
Inside a weary 1920s bungalow patiently sits the most extraordinary and diverse collection of seaside relics ever amassed by a beachcomber.
Known today as the Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum, this classic coastal cottage was once a local Nags Head grocery store and home to Nellie Myrtle Pridgen. Nellie was a woman with one primary passion since the 1920s; she walked the beaches almost daily in search of treasure, not gold or silver but virtually any items lost to the sea. "
"Her gatherings from the shore are a time capsule of goods from the first half of our 20th century. She spent the majority of her life methodically accumulating and researching over 50 years of American history, along with a few objects that pre-dated her by several hundred years. Most of the collection is neatly archived in boxes or cases, on shelves or in piles.
This is not a hoarder’s mess, Nellie was well read and understood history quite well, but the collection seems to have outgrown the modest cottage. Glass bottles and sea glass make up a noteworthy part of the menagerie.
Exquisite shells like a rare Argonaut, tin soldiers and toys, as well as a plethora of fulgurites left behind by lightning strikes in the sand.
One remarkable find is the top section of a stoneware jug, featuring a bearded man’s face, a rare piece of German Bellarmine vessel likely from the 1600's."
More on Richard LaMotte's
"The Lure Of Sea Glass" >>> HERE...
Old Nags Head oceanfront, MP 13, January , 2015, with exposed sand fence
placed on the new beach after the 2011 Beach Fill project in Nags Head.
"I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way
Where the wind's like a whetted knife."
"For most of her 74 years, Nellie Myrtle – as everyone called her – walked at dusk and dawn, day in and day out, along the oceanfront, the sound side and the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge, scouting for beach glass, bottles, old dolls, anything interesting that the sea tossed aside or the sands gave up. By the time she died in 1992, she had amassed jar after jar of sea glass, sorted by color; seashells of every distinction; colorful plastic toys that fill a big basket; bottles of every color and size, some containing messages; and numerous nautical artifacts."
Catherine Kozak ~ The Virginian Pilot ~ Norfolk Virginia
A stunning 12" antique Japanese fishing net float hangs
from the ceiling in circa 1914 Mattie Midgette's Store
The Nellie Myrtle Collection
Beach glass from the Collection:
A large piece of cobalt bonfire glass, a variety of blue beach glass, one stunning lavender chunk
and background cameos by green make this sunset array by Dorothy Hope a classic!
The Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Collection
Mattie Midgette's Store ~ Old Nags Head
Below, the morning sun lights up some of the shelves in the museum.
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