Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum

Welcome to the 

 Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum 

Located in Historic
Mattie Midgette's Store
on North Carolina's Outer Banks
in the heart of Old Nags Head

 


Home of the


Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Collection 


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."

 

 
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2014 Museum Update:  Museum Closed

There are no museum openings scheduled for 2014.
After 11 years of opening our home to share its history,
we are suspending our open houses for the foreseeable future.

We understand this will be disappointin...
g to many who have
not yet had the opportunity to view the Nellie Myrtle Collection
as well as the hundreds of repeat visitors who have toured the
museum since 2003 when we first opened our doors.

We regret that disappointment and wish everyone
"Happy Hunting" as you comb our Outer Banks
beaches for treasures tossed upon the shore.

Dorothy Hope & Chaz Winkler
Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum
Mattie Midgette's Store








 

                               Mattie Midgette's Store  








 




 






 Discovering Nature's 

Vanishing Gems


"This beautiful book written by 
Richard LaMotte  is a fascinating reference for
 anyone who loves beachcombing. It shows 
the reader how to find the most advantageous 
times and locations to hunt sea glass and to identify the possible source of the glass 
shards, their age,  historical
significance, and rarity."

Richard currently serves as the North American Sea Glass Association president and has visited the Beachcomber Museum twice and appraised  the collection's  rare treasures.

LaMotte says,

“When it comes to beachcombers of the 20th century, no one single collection comes close to the wealth of artifacts as those amassed by Nellie Myrtle Pridgen. Her trove of gifts from the shoreline and dunes of Nags Head serves as a 60-year time capsule of life on the Atlantic as items adrift from north and south found respite along North Carolina's Outer Banks. The shelves of a once thriving grocery store display thousands of stunning sea glass shards and dozens of antique bottles.”


“Like the reclusive collector herself, the diverse items from our past have remained mostly out of the public eye,” LaMotte says. “She passed away in 1992 and never desired attention for her collection.  Dorothy Hope and Chaz Winkler now carefully watch the store and its treasure. Their reluctance to move anything out of the nest is easily understood. Members of the beachcombing community would likely agree that this is the immaculate collection.”



 






 


"I must 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 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."


From ~ Sea Fever ~ By John Masefield 




"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

 



 

Nellie Myrtle, circa 1943 










 


 


Here is a water color of Jockeys Ridge by  the  Rev. Frank Dinwiddie, longtime Pastor of the  Old Nags Head Baptist Church.  More...



 



 

A portion of a giant Fulgurite Nellie Myrtle 

found on nearby Jockeys Ridge.  More...




 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!

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 Scenes from 

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. 

 

 


 

 

 

 







 









 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 


 

 

 

 "Old School Outer Banks" 


 


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