Maritime Museum Debuts New Evening Children’s Program

Museum Under the Stars at the North Carolina Maritime Museum - Beaufort

A new event at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort will give parents the freedom to enjoy a long-time cookoff while their children are kept engaged and supervised right across the street.

Museum Under the Stars debuts Jan. 20 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the museum, located at 315 Front St. in downtown Beaufort. The program, designed for ages 8 to 11, includes a pizza party, comparisons of real pirates to their Hollywood counterparts and hands-on demonstrations in navigating using the stars and a compass as those 18th century sailors did. The Friends of the Maritime Museum will be hosting its 12th Annual Clam Chowder Cook-off starting at 6 p.m. that same night at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center, which is directly across Front Street from the museum. Participants will taste samples of the chowders and cornbread created by four guest cooks in each category and vote for their favorite.

The new Museum Under the Stars program was developed by museum intern Kyler Copeland, a student at Carteret Community College. He took his idea for a pirate-themed evening to Associate Curator of Education Christine Brin, who helped him refine and schedule the program.

“Anyone who knows me, knows that I love pirates. So I was completely on board when Kyler pitched the program,” Brin said. “And as a mom, I know how hard it is to plan a date night. That’s why I thought it would be a great idea to hold Kyler’s program the same night as the chowder cookoff.”

Museum Under the Stars is $90 per child ($85 for Friends of the Maritime Museum members). To register, call 252-504-7758 or visit Tickets to the Annual Clam Chowder Cook-off are $45 ($40 Friends member) and include the tastings, beer and wine. Tickets are available at

Both events have a limited number of tickets available.

Copeland said the idea for Museum Under the Stars grew out of the idea for a game — and maybe a bit of fever.

“I had covid and was stuck inside, so I came up with a game that was like a complicated version of Battleship but with multiple pirate ships,” Copeland said.

However, Copeland said he couldn’t figure out a way to simplify the game for children. So he started brainstorming other ideas for museum programming.

“I already had pirate ships on my mind, and I had some basic experience with compass work during my time in Scouting and a loose understanding of navigating by the stars,” he said.

Copeland said he decided to combine those to create the new Museum Under the Stars program.

“My idea, ultimately,” he said, “was to come up with a cool program that little Kyler would’ve loved.”

For more information on Museum Under the Stars or the Clam Chowder Cook-off, call 252-504-7740 or visit

By Cyndi Brown