Learn things

Boaters on Taylor’s Creek pass by the open doors of the N.C. Maritime Museum’s Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center in Beaufort. The museum is offering educational events both inside the facility and at the watercraft center this month. Mark Hibbs photo)

N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort is starting 2014 with a series of educational events.

One of the first items on the calendar is the Brown Bag Gam from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 9 about the U.S. Lifesaving Service in North Carolina.

Pack a lunch, and join Associate Museum Curator Benjamin Wunderly during your lunch break for an informal discussion on the history of the U.S. Lifesaving Service in North Carolina. The small crews of this service, the predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard, rescued hundreds of sailors in a time when most people traveled by water.

Gam is defined as a friendly conversation between whalers or to visit with another ship while at sea. Admission is free, and reservations are preferred.

Next is the third-annual Clam Chowder Cook-off 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 17. Four volunteer guest clam chowder cooks will compete at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center. Participants can enjoy a tasting-sized portion of each of the four chowders and then vote for their favorite. In addition to clam chowder, the event will host a cornbread taste-off. Tickets, $30 for nonmembers and $25 for Friends members, are available at the Museum Store or online at www.museumfriends.org. Proceeds help support the operations of the Friends of the N.C. Maritime Museum.

Ornithologists can explore the coast with the museum during the Coastal Culture and Waterfowl Watching Excursion Jan. 21-22. Thousands of snow geese and tundra swan are common sights while they winter in Eastern North Carolina. The N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will offer an overnight excursion to provide a close-up look of these birds. Visitors will travel to Lake Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and other great bird-watching spots in between. Museum staff will partner with the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center to serve as field guides and travel hosts. Pointy pintails, bashful buffleheads, mergansers and other feathered friends can be observed. The birding trip includes an overnight stay in Nags Head. Space is limited, and registration, $65, is required. Hotel accommodations and meals are not included. Call the museum at 728-7317 for details.

The next Brown Bag Gam is noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 23 on Oil Pressure, Cetaceans and Our Search for Oil. Join Museum Natural Science Curator Keith Rittmaster for an informal discussion on whales. From hunting whales to seismic exploration, our search for oil in marine environments continues to involve whales in some way or another.

The Carolina Maritime Model Society meeting is at 2 p.m. Jan 25. The Carolina Maritime Model Society exists to promote the active participation in building ship models, a craft as old as shipbuilding itself. The group is the only such organization in the entire state and has become a major vehicle for widening public interest in North Carolina’s maritime history and culture. Membership is open to all members of the Friends of the Maritime Museum. There will be a Traditional Boatbuilding Carpentry Class 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center. Traditional techniques, developed to solve woodworking problems unique to vernacular boatbuilding, are taught in this hands-on workshop. Participants work as a team to construct a 12- to 14-foot version of a traditional “rack of eye” flat-bottomed skiff. In the process, they learn how to set up the boat, spile and bend planks, plane bevels, erect framing and explore fastening options and the characteristics of traditional boatbuilding woods. The 12 hours from the two-day class can be used as a prerequisite for the nine-day boatbuilding class. The fee is $135 and participants must be at least 16 years old. Advance registration is required.

Little ones can enjoy Merry Times for Tots: Whales & Dolphins 10-11 a.m. Jan. 31.

Does a dolphin bark? Can a whale sing? How do they breathe? Preschoolers (ages 2-5) and their caregivers are invited to the museum for this free hour-long program where visitors will have the chance to hear a story about dolphins and smell the oil from a sperm whale. Children will also have the chance to touch the museum’s own 33.5-foot sperm whale named “Echo.” The program will be led by School and Group Coordinator Christine Brin. Admission is free and pre-registration is preferred.

The N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort reflects coastal life and interprets lighthouses and lifesaving stations, the seafood industry, motorboats and more. Studies in marine life, science and ecology are available for all ages.

The Beaufort museum is the repository for artifacts from Blackbeard’s wrecked flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, among them cannons, grenades, belt buckles and beads.

The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center teaches boatbuilding for all ages.

The N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, though donations are appreciated.

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