Welcome to the
Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum
Home of the
Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Collection
Update, May 29, 2016:
The Beachcomber Museum will not be opening this year as we focus
our attention on our long range goal of making Nellie's collection available
for viewing on a full time basis. There are difficulties and disadvantages
associated with opening on a limited basis without being a licensed business.
The value of our site to the history of the Outer Banks has increased
over time as other historic structures have been lost to demolition
and new development. We take our responsibilities as stewards of this irreplaceable Outer Banks treasure seriously and feel the time has come to concentrate our efforts to making it a permanent part of the resort's landscape and make it available to its visitors on a regular basis for generations to come.
We understand this will come as a disappointment to those
that have come to appreciate the history we have to share
and hope you will understand the need for us to take the
next step towards providing a situation that is better suited
to doing justice to the incredible legacy left behind by the
Midgette's of Nags Head.
Our goal now is to have the museum ready for opening full
time before Nellie Myrtle's 100th birthday on May 17, 2018.
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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