Museum nears reopening date after year of repairs

Bill Ellis of the Carver’s Nest in Four Oaks shows a customer the nuances of his decoys during 2018’s Waterfowl Weekend at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island. (Dylan Ray photo)

Despite repairs from Hurricane Florence damage lasting most of the year, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center’s Waterfowl Weekend will take place Friday-Sunday.

It is held alongside the Core Sound Decoy Festival, which is Saturday and Sunday at Harkers Island Elementary School.

According to officials, the building restoration and repair will be complete by December, with a final move-in date set for the spring.

“We’re not home to stay (yet), but we’ll be home that weekend to celebrate a year of recovery behind us and a year of celebration ahead,” museum Executive Director Karen Amspacher said in a recent email. “Many thanks to all of you who have helped make this rebuild a reality during 2019! Come take a look and see for yourself all the good work that has been done!”

During Waterfowl Weekend, exhibitors will be in the museum gallery – upstairs and downstairs – with the education hall reserved for the Friday Night Preview, special events and programs Saturday, including the heritage auction, church Sunday and a special Christmas singing Sunday afternoon.

The event will also include food, music, book signings, demonstrations and more.

Porch talks will be held in the educational hall starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Waterfowl Weekend participants will be able to talk to fishermen, duck hunters, boatbuilders, “fish house liars” and more.

Bob Timberlake will also be on site sharing memories of duck hunting on Core Banks. He will be signing copies of his book from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

Waterfowl Weekend participants can purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win the 2019 quilt.

“Recovery” is the name and theme for the 2019 raffle quilt, and the quilt pattern is “Storm at Sea.”

“Hurricane Florence hit our coast hard as hard as any storm from years past. And it lingered,” quilters said. “‘Recovery’ depicts dark and stormy waters finally receding towards the bottom left, and to the right above, the sun breaking through. More than just the sun, though, the bright batik colors around it represent the resilience, strength, and compassion of the people who withstood the storm, who joined together to clean up and rebuild, and who will always do so.”

A silent auction will be held throughout the weekend and feature online bidding and dozens of items, including original art, decoys, gift certificates, collectibles and Christmas gifts like bikes, jewelry, housewares. Those interested can bid online until 3 p.m. Sunday by texting “ww” to 843-606-5995 or visiting

There will also be a heritage auction at 5 p.m. Saturday with a preview at 2 p.m. The heritage auction includes more than 20 of the best Core Sound decoys.

This year, a new collection of “living heritage” Core Sound carvings will be offered from carvers who are leading the tradition of Core Sound carving to the next generation.

“On behalf of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, I want to offer my sincere thanks to those who donated decoys, and others who helped make this Heritage Auction possible,” said Robbie Smith, chairman of the Heritage Auction committee. “The old working decoys from Core Sound are treasures and we are thrilled to offer these rare pieces at auction to benefit our museum. We are also excited to offer a few decoys made by carvers who are working hard to continue this rich tradition.”

Our State magazine will be at the museum throughout the weekend, as well. With a community partner subscription program, the Core Sound Museum receives $5 from each subscription sold during the weekend. The Christmas edition, featuring crabpot trees, will be available. Nicky Harvey, creator of the crabpot tree, will be at Waterfowl Weekend from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday to sign magazines.

The weekend also provides an opportunity to purchase local Christmas gifts, from ammunition boxes to tea-towels, Christmas pillows with the Cape Lookout lighthouse and North Carolina-made fancy foods.

Participants will also be able to purchase Core Sound’s 2019 ornament created by Walter “Brother” Gaskill, featuring Core Sound’s crabpot tree, and Island Christmas shirts featuring the island anchors.

Waterfowl Weekend continues Sunday with morning church and breakfast at 8 a.m.

The service will be led by Corey Lawrence and Kerry Willis. The Davis Baptist Church Men’s Choir will provide the music, and breakfast will follow the service.

Sunday afternoon is Core Sound Community Day with special guests the East Carteret High School Band.

The Harkers Island decorating contest winners will be announced at 2 p.m.

For more information on Waterfowl Weekend, visit

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