Man in period dress sits smiling and facing camera while sitting at table laden with a variety of historic maritime navigational tools

Explore history with new ‘Deep Dive’ program

A new interactive program at the museum combines living historians, material culture displays and hands-on activities to help you connect more directly to the past.

Museum Manager John Moseley developed the “Deep Dives into History” program to provide visitors a greater understanding of the wide ranging and varied history of the region, the state and the country. The first program in the series featured dentistry in the Colonial age, and the second one shared the history of local USOs during World War II. Up next in the series is “Navigation Tools in the Age of Sail,” which will be held at the museum on Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free drop-in program, which is designed for all ages, will showcase the tools that helped seafarers of old explore the world. Registration is not required.

“Latitude sailing and dead reckoning were two early methods to find your way, but both had their limitations,” Moseley said. “The change in technology from a cross staff to the octant and the shift from maps to nautical charts greatly improved the abilities of the navigator to get where they were going safely.”

Moseley will set up and staff a station with many navigational tools on display, demonstrating how they were used.

“For sailors arriving in the Cape Fear River to trade for naval stores and rice, making sure these cargoes made it from one port to another took a great deal of mathematical skills, intellect, and sailing knowledge,” Moseley said.

The “Deep Dive into History: Navigation Tools in the Age of Sail” program will also include a hands-on activity. Using string, a weight, a straw, and paper, visitors will recreate and learn the basics of using a 1728 Gunter’s Quadrant.

The Deep Dive series will continue monthly with the exception of February and December.

“Part of our mission is to interpret the material culture pertinent to the maritime history of the region,” Moseley said. “This hands-on program will help us offer visitors an even deeper understanding of history and its importance.”

The museum is located at 204 E. Moore St. in downtown Southport. For more information, call (910) 477-5152. Program updates are also posted on the museum’s Facebook page..

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