The Museum of Coastal Carolina has several themed galleries with outstanding dioramas and exhibits about the natural history, environment, and culture of the Coastal Carolina’s.

Ingram Lobby

  • Portrait of Stuart and Louise Ingram, Museum/Planetarium founders
  • 1865 map of Fort Caswell
  • Civil War rifles, archaeology artifacts, and slide show

Changing Tides Gallery

  • Carolina Gold exhibit
  • Sperm Whale exhibit
  • Megabites exhibit — Features shark teeth found in North Carolina
  • Shark jaws
  • Wave machine that shows wave action during high and low tides
  • Tide machine that demonstrates how the position of the sun, moon, and earth affects tides
  • The Shore is Shifting — An interactive exhibit about inlet migration and hard structures on a barrier island system
  • Augmented Reality Sandbox — An interactive exhibit to help understand water run off when it rains
  • Hidden History – Part of a P-47D fighter plane tail wing found on Ocean Isle Beach
  • Mastodon exhibit — includes a Mastodon tooth found on Ocean Isle Beach

Waterways Gallery

  • Streams to the Sea exhibit — Explains how storm water runoff pollutes streams and rivers from higher ground as it flows to the Carolina coast
  • Shipwrecks exhibit
  • Aquarium with live  sea animals
  • Litterbug Hall of Shame exhibit — Demonstrates how beach litter can affect the beauty and integrity of the beaches
  • North Carolina River Basins exhibit
  • Diorama — Large habitat featuring animals and plants found in the Green Swamp of North Carolina
  • Live non-venomous snakes
  • Exhibit showing how to identify venomous and non-venomous snakes that live in North Carolina
  • Insect collection with magnifiers to give an “‘up close and personal” look

Sea Shore Gallery

  • Touch tank with live sea animals
  • Lionfish exhibit
  • 225-gallon aquarium depicting a NC hard bottom reef
  • Shell collection featuring over 200 different shells
  • Fossil collection
  • Display showing what minerals are found in one cubic yard of sea water

Ocean Reef Gallery

  • Diorama — Walk through a reef that might exist 65 miles off the North Carolina coast.; see life-size models of whales, sharks, sea turtles, rays, etc.

Coastal Plain Gallery

  • Diorama — Waterfowl habitat
  • American Bald Eagle
  • Shorebirds
  • Diorama — Backyard birds, bird nests, and John Reid’s excellent bird egg collection from the 1860’s
  • Animal pelts
  • Dugout canoes
  • Native American tools, weapons, and pottery
  • Ringo exhibit — Cross-section of a local tree that demonstrates how to count tree rings and identify the events in the life of the tree

Barrier Island Gallery

  • Coastal Gallery — A changing exhibition of works by local artists
  • Handbuilt model of the old Ocean Isle Beach ferry
  • Draw Alive! — An interactive exhibit where you can design/color your own sea creature and scan it into our virtual aquarium!
  • The Legend of the Loggerhead exhibit — Model of a sand dune with a mother loggerhead turtle laying a nest and hatchlings emerging from a nest. Walk through the dune to view the nest from the interior.
  • Watch a video filmed on Ocean Isle Beach about the life cycle of loggerhead turtles
  • Shipwright’s tools and navigation equipment
  • Wooden strip boat made in Brunswick County
  • Model ships

The video below was produced by the Brunswick County Tourism Authority.

The video features the Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization along with the Holden Beach Sea Turtle Patrol.

Parts of the video were filmed at the Museum of Coastal Carolina’s Barrier Island Gallery!

For more information about loggerhead sea turtles in Ocean Isle Beach and  Sunset Beach, visit