Salter Path Museum and Art Gallery focuses on the long history of life on Salter Path.

The museum and art gallery began in 2014 with two purposes. First, to make a home for memorabilia, photographs and information about the history of Salter Path, and second, to provide a place for local artists and craftsmen to display and offer their work.

Dr. Charles Zwerling, owner of the museum and gallery, approached Douglas and Kathleen Guthrie with an offer to use the building for a museum for the community.  

After some thought, they decided to take him up on his offer and began to clean and fix the building and collect photographs and items from people in the village.  

With Dr. Zwerling’s support and much help from their children and grandchildren, they opened the museum in the spring of 2014.  

The structure itself, on the sound side next to the Crab Shack Restaurant, has its own history, beginning as a net house to store fish nets and then serving as a fish market.  

Hurricane Ophelia destroyed the back half of the building in 2005.  Much of the shoreline was also wrecked by the storm.  The front part of the building was salvaged, although completely flooded.

Two rooms make up the museum and gallery. The museum room houses many photographs of Salter Path and its people, some photographs going back nearly 100 years.  It also contains information about commercial fishing, which villagers relied on for their living. Beach fishing, scalloping and shrimping are highlighted.

People in Salter Path played baseball and softball and a display case holds trophies, photos and uniforms concerning men’s and women’s ball.

One display is about Irvin Smith’s store, which was a gathering place for the villagers, a place where children waited for school buses, where people got their groceries and fishing gear, where people picked up delivered packages and where people called if they needed anything.  

Also in the museum are accounts of Salter Path churches and the post office.

The museum records a large amount of the unique story of Salter Path.

The village was owned for many years by Alice Hoffman, a wealthy New York City socialite, who left the town to her heirs, four of President Theodore Roosevelt’s grandchildren.  

Controversy between Ms. Hoffman and the Salter Path people lasted a long time, and formed the village into a faraway, isolated, closed community.  The effects of Ms. Hoffman and the Roosevelts remain today.

One museum item that many enjoy is a map of old Salter Path by villager Romaine Willis.  It shows homes, churches, businesses, the Coast Guard station and horse pens.

The second room in the building is the gallery where local artists have their work.  

Oils, watercolors, collages, and painted glassware can be found. Fish made of felt, jellyfish and boxes are the creation of one artist.  

Another makes wood objects, including baskets, jewelry boxes, lighthouses and boats.  

One local woman fashions delicate jewelry from shells she finds on the beach, while others use shells to make Christmas ornaments.  There are cards, T-shirts, caps, shells to color and many other things for sale.

Salter Path Museum and Art Gallery is open from 5-8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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