Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Frisco Native American Museum

Wednesday Afternoon May 2, 2018                          Most Recent Posts:
Cape Hatteras National Seashore                             Outer Banks Light House Number Two: Hatteras Light House
Oregon Inlet Campground                                          Love My National Wildlife Refuges
Nags Head, North Carolina

I’m not sure how I feel about the Frisco Native American Museum but since I was right here in Frisco North Carolina I thought I’d see.  After my morning visit at the Lighthouse I drove 5 miles further south to Frisco and the museum.

IMG_2462This is not a museum primarily about the local Indians though a small room has been recently  added to spotlight them.

Archaeology does indicate that Hatteras Island has been the home of Native Americans for thousands of years.  According to the information in the museum, Hatteras Island was originally known as Croatan and was the site of the first recorded contact between Native people and the English in 1584.  They claim that contact took place near the current site of the museum.  This is the group of English who disappeared and were never able to be traced, “the lost colony”.

This museum is about all Native Americans.  It is a huge collection of artifacts primarily of one collector, Carl Bornfriend.  He’s been collecting since he was 7 years old and 30 years ago bought the 100 year old building that is now the museum.  He has expanded it over the years to house his enormous collection from all over the country.

It’s interesting that the building is located about as far east in the country as you can get and yet its design is southwestern and after spending a few hours inside, I’d say most of its artifacts are too.


When you walk inside, it appears to be a small building but then there is room after room with walls and display cases covered with collectables. 

The first rooms are overwhelming in that there are so many diverse pieces.  In subsequent rooms the collection is somewhat organized.

It’s a mixture of old, sort of old, ancient, authenitic, and  not so much. 

The pottery case is across from the basketry case and behind it are some paintings and drawings - just things Bornfriend liked with more baskets on the top of the wall.  You really have to look everywhere in every room, on the floor, above you in order not to miss pieces of the collection.

I had a great deal of trouble photographing the things in the cases and behind the glass because of the glaring lights that I fear may be damaging the materials.

This amazingly intact bowl is described as an Anasazi Bowl 1500 to 2000 years old.  One card says it was found, I assume, on the Kaibab (Paiute) Indian Reservation which is located in the Northern part of Arizona.   Another more recent card says it was found in the Grand Canyon.  The Canyon’s native people are the Havasupai who lived there for at least 800 years.  Not sure why the varying explanations.  I’m very surprised anything found in the Grand Canyon was allowed to be removed.  It has been protected since 1893.  But I suppose it could have passed into the hands of the Paiute who sold it or traded it.  This was the explanation I was given for the acquisition of the pieces displayed here.

It’s a beautiful ancient work of art that is a long way from its origins.

Throughout the museum there are informative signs telling about items in the cases.  This one describes the types of Basketry you can see in the case.


The baskets are not individually labeled with the particular tribes who created them.  Maybe I’m the only one who cares about knowing the specifics.

I guess this is the musical instrument case with rattles, drums and flutes.  This is not the only place these are found but perhaps the case is to protect the more valuable.  I was wishing that the tribes who created them and approximate year had been shown.

Although the sign just inside the entrance explains that there are 566 federally recognized and 62 state recognized Native American Tribes, Bands, Nations, Peublos, Communities and Villages in the United States and that they are all unique, I did feel like they were being thrown together and mixed up in a way that non Natives often seem to do.  An Indeian is an Indian??  Or perhaps the intent was to show what they have in common.

These beautifully woven blankets were identified as Navajo.

Many Native tribes created fetish figures.  Ususally these were animal figures but this one was striking in its difference.  Again, I wish I’d known where it came from.

Not everything in the museum had to do with to do with Native Artifacts but everything is what  Mr. Bornfriend found interesting and worth collecting such as a display of Scrimshaw.  Done historically by whalers, Scrimshaw is carving on Ivory using india ink.  Notice the example of Walrus Ivory.  The Elephant Ivory is labeled as unavailable.  It appears to have been there at one time. 

I love the display of FAKE plastic.  The cribbage board is lovely.  Notice the figure toward the tip.  I meant for it to be in my close up picture.  Good intentions.

In keeping with the whaling theme, a harpoon stands against the wall.


The information board on the Katchina Doll cases says that “there is a Katchina spirit for every purpose and over 900 documented in history.  Some are easily recognizable as animals, while others represent ideas, celestial bodies or unseen forces.  Originally created by the Hopi, they were later integrated into most Pueblo tribes as well as the Navajo.”

Used as teaching tools and reminders of proper behavior, original Hopi figures were carved from cottonwood root and painted with natural dyes.  They act as messengers between humans and the spirit world.  The detail of the art is amazing.

In the last room is a collection of other types of dolls along with clothing displays.


Judging from the number of cases of dolls, they must have been among the collector’s favorite items.   These are Seminole dolls made of palm frond fibers.  Each shelf in each case was a different grouping of dolls.

Navajo Dolls have faces while dolls of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) do not.  Iroquois cornhusk dolls remind children not to be vain.

These were not labeled but I assume they are Inuit.

Most of the bead work on display was clothing or bags.  A few of the pieces had non glass beads.  Pre contact beads were all constructed of natural materials.  Clay beads were formed on a stick and once they dried they could be shaped, polished or carved.  When they were fired, the stick burned away and the bead was left. 

Beads were also made of wood, stone, teeth, bone, and shell.   These had to be shaped and drilled  with hand made tools.  Beads were strung on animal sinew, plant fiber, hair and thin strips of leather or rawhide.

Making these beautiful belts, bags, bands and especially the clothing was extremely time consuming.  They are beautiful works of art.

The display of women’s ceremonial dress was unique.  The models were inside a rotating glass case so you could see all the detals, front and back but not touch anything.  The glass was not so accomodating for photography but the clothing was marvelous.

The last thing inside was the new addition of a small space beyond the little museum store.  I wondered if they had just cut the store in half to put in this exhibit honoring the local natives of this area.


  Most of what is known about them comes from 16th Century writings and drawings of the original English settlers thanks to John White, an illustrator and map maker who was part of the second expedition of Sir Walter Releigh and spent 13 months with the Algonquians who welcomed them when they arrived. 

Information also comes from more recent archeological findings particuarly large middens> These mounds of shells from oysters, clams and scallops in the area show that the early settlements of Native Americans on Hatteras  may have been as large as the current year round population, approximately 4000.  This shellfish diet sounds like the perfect menu to me.

A partial long house has been reconstructed inside with woven mats as walls and ceilings.  One of White’s drawings of the natives has been enlarged and recreated on the entry wall.

With contact being so long ago and nearly all the coastal tribes of the east being descimated by disease or warfare, there are few if any real artifacts, beyond arrowheads, of the local Native Peoples.  These were the people of first contact and the part of the legend of “The Lost Colony”.  I’ve been told the local outdoor drama of the same name is very looonnnnggg.  Though not part of the “official story”, many locals and scholars believe the lost colonists simply blended in with the Croatan People for survival and thus their descendents may well be here today among the families of this community.

Doing a little research after my visit, I found that in nearby Manteo there is a Roanoke-Hatteras Indian Tribe which claims to be the descendents of the various Algonquin speaking tribes of the Outer Banks.  They have an enrollment of about 150 people. 

IMG_2507To expand on their indoor local exhibit the museum has created a “trail” outside.

It begins behind the museum with this large sign overlooking a couple of picnic tables near the trailhead.   Among the information it provides is a notice of the “Annual Ancestral Village Day Celebration” which, like the full moon climb I didn’t know about, was this past week-end.  I definitely need to do more research before coming to an area rather than after I arrive.

Some of the expansion of the museum literally sits over the water.  I worry for its safety as seas continue to rise.  An ancient dug out canoe was found here and is on display.



The outdoor signs are obviously fairly new and extremely well done.  This first one located before crossing the bridge at the beginning of the trail describes the trail as an outdoor exhibit of what one would see in a typical village here on Hatteras Island.   It enumerates what is to come.


This partial fishing weir would of course have been in the water but it is very interesting to see how it is built of sticks that formed a long wall in the water.  When the fish tried to swim around the wall they were led into a funnel that emptied into a large box from which they could not escape.

Men also caught fish by lighting a fire in their dugout canoes and when the fish were attracted to the light they were speared or netted.  Nets were made by the women from deer sinew, tree bark, and plant fiber cordage.  I’d like to see a tree bark net.

The canoes were made of cypress trees using fire and sea shells for hollowing them out.  A clam shell is provided for you to try yous hand, which I do.  My selfie is a bit off center but oh well . . .     I can see how this and many other community activities  might have been a fun with several people working together and chatting away.  We have few of these opportunities in our modern life and much larger communities.   I was all by myself today.

The trail brings me around to the dance circle.  The art of early explorers shows Native Americans dancing around carved ceremonial poles.  Historians theorize that the carved faces were representatives of the ancestors looking on.  Early explorers observed numerous occasions  marked by singing and dancing in a circle, social occasions, entreaty occasions, celebratory occasions for good luck. in a hunt, avoiding a storm, successful crops  or just social occasions such as welcoming visitors.

Im’ thinking that the real dance circles would probably have been much larger than this display one but it was wonderful walking into the center and imagining the singing, the drums, the dancing, the joy of the people.


The trail concludes at the authentic recreation of a long house.   This one would housed 4 families.  They were constructed of saplings bent to form a barrel vaulted structure which could be easily expanded on either end.  Most long houses were longer than this display. 

The saplings were then covered with bark or mats made of reed, willow or grass depending on location and season. Mats could be rolled up in the summer heat.  There were no windows, only holes in the roof for the smoke to escape.  These skylights allowed daylight in and could be closed in the event of rain or the rare snow in this area.  A couple of summers ago we were in the Finger Lakes Region and visited another Native American museum of the Algonquin speaking people and saw a much larger long house in an area that would certainly have had snow.  It’s interesting to see that the Algonquin people range both north and south with the same customs and housing choices. 

Each family occupied a space of about 10’ oppostie a shared fire.  Families slept on the low platforms with shelves above used for storage.  Villages would have from 2 to 20 long houses.

I often don’t know the completeness of what I think about something until I put it down in writing.  Thus my decades long journal writing.  After having spent the entire afternoon here at the museum and written this post, I am able to answer my opening question. 

Although I wish some of the more ancient pieces from the museum were repatriated to the tribes from which they were taken/bartered/bought in previous times, the effort of the museum to highlight the importance of the culture and beliefs held in common by the Native Peoples of this land is very admirable.

They have worked hard with few funds to display this collection and educate the public.   I enjoyed my visit and especially the outdoor section devoted to the Croatans.  I recommend you visit if you are in the area and support this effort to focus attention on the First Peoples of this country.  Both the collection and the museum appear to have been done with respect, admiration and love.  Would that we could have done that from the beginning.  I continue to believe the Native Peoples have and had a lot to teach our ancestors and us.

My 45 mile return trip brought me home just in time for sunset over Pamlico Sound at the Coast Guard Station.   It’s been a busy but mighty fine day from Sunrise to Lighthouse to Native American Museum to Sunset.   What a wonderful life!!


Outer Banks Lighthouse Number Two: Cape Hatteras Light

Wednesday May 2, 2018                                                                               Most Recent Posts:
Oregon Inlet Campground                                                                            Love My National Wildlife Refuges
Cape Hatteras National Seashore                                                                 Bodie Island Lighthouse
Nags Head, North Carolina

I’ve got a big day planned for today so I’m up at dawn and see the full moon in the east as I walk out to the ocean for sunrise.


I zoom in for a fly by so the birds will be big enough to be seen in the picture not just by my eyes.  They are headed north.  Probably not too far.


As the sun gives more light this group is easier to pick up. 

Of course there are the locals who are here every morning and much of the day.

A little closer view.



Even though these are only a fraction of the pictures I took of this gorgeous morning, it’s a lot and I hope you agree with me that there are never too many pictures of the dawning of a new day.

But sun’s up now and the moon is over head.  Time to take my long sunrise legs and get them moving on with my day.  I do love having long legs.



I’ve packed a lunch and I’m heading down to Hatteras Island for the day.  There are a lot of things I want to see including the Cape  Hatteras Lighthouse.    The Lighthouse is in the town of Buxton on Hatteras Island.  Well just outside the town.   It’s 40 miles from my campsite and the drive is lovely with the sound on one side and the ocean on the other.    This is a really narrow strip of land.  I fear for the impact of rising oceans on this area.


With sunrise just after 6am, I was on the road early and had no trouble arriving before the lighthouse opened at 9am.  When I pull in, it’s like Déjà vu all over again.  If you read my post on Bodie Island Light you’ll know that I first went there and encountered 3 or was it 4 bus loads of kids so I left and came back the next day.   Can’t do that here.  Too far a drive.  So I’ll have to figure out how to deal with these two buses.


I decide I’ll take my time and read all the information boards outside the ticketing area before I go up and see how to get around climbing a lighthouse with busloads of students.

What I learn is very interesting.  The current Lighthouse is second lighthouse to protect ships from the dangerous Diamond Shoals off the coast.   I borrowed this map from Nc-wreckdiving.com to illustrate the location of Diamond Shoals and the number of ship wrecks.  The green oval shoes the Diamond Shoals just at the point that the Outer Banks turn.


The first 90’ lighthhouse to service Hatteras Island was authorized in 1794 and completed in 1802.  It was made of sandstone.  wasn’t long before it became clear that it really wan’t tall enough to do the job.  After decades of complaints, 60 feet were added making it 150 feet tall by 1853..  If you’ve ever been down here you can imagine that after a series of rough storms the two part lighthouse wasn’t faring so well.  Construction began on a new lighthouse in 1868 and it was finished in 1870 and the light lit.


It protected the waters off Hatteras Island for over 100 years but by 1990 beach erosion had begun to undermine it. At this point after a century of nor’easters and hurricanes,  it was in danger of toppling into the sea.

In 1999, after years of careful planning the lighthouse and all the surroundings buildings were move 1/2 mile over 23 days.  My friend Keith came out to watch the move and said it was really amazing.  According to the information, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick structure in history to ever be moved.

You can drive over to the area of the original site which is now a picnic area.  By 2014, the original foundation stones were nearly under water and were moved to the new site to creat an amphitheater near the entrance to the lighthouse area.


The Outer Banks Lighthouse Society engraved the foundation stones with service start date and name of each Lighthouse Keeper.  Many of the names are familiar local resident surnames. 

I think it’s a great idea and quite moving to walk around and read the names and dates for these corageous families who lived here when it was not a beach resort but rather a lonely long way from anywhere and difficult to get to.


Time now to check about climbing.  The ranger tells me to check with the window under the green awning on the right side of the Gift Shop which is not the visitor Center.

When I do, the wonderful young man tells me that he has to assign me a time to climb and suggests 10:00 since all the folks from the buses will be down by then.   Terrific!  I pay my $4.00 for those over 62, disabled or under 12.  All others $8.00.   Regardless, I know it will be worth it.


Ticket in hand I walk down the shady lane toward the Lighthouse.


The Main keeper’s Quarters and the Double Assistant Keeper’s quarters were both also moved to this site in 1999.  The Double quarters is now the Lighthouse Museum where they have informational exhibits and a virtual climb for those who for whatever reason cannot climb to the top.  The Main Keeper’s Quarters is office space.


It’s not 10:00 yet so I head over to the Museum.


The buildings have been moved to the exact same relative location to the lighthouse.  Wonderful view from the Double Keepers porch.


I don’t have much time inside before it’s time to head over for my climb.  What a beautiful granite base.  All the stone came from New England.  The base of the “new” 1870 lighthouse was painted red in honor of the original lighthouse which was painted red when it was extended in height to make it more visible at least during the day.


Inside I can see the stairs  The wonderful black and white tile floor makes me smile.  It’s perfect!


As with the Bodie Island Light you can see how far up you’ve climbed by looking out the windows.  Here the windows are open for the breeze protected by wrought iron grille work.


As you are climbing round and round there are two metal rails running from the top to the bottom.  These were once the “cage” for the device that enabled the keepers to crank the light turning mechanism.  A weight would slowly descend and when it got either to the bottom, if they wanted a long hard crank or part way down, they would crank the handle to pull it back up and keep the light turning.  Wish the entire mechanism were still here.  Sounds sort of like a grandfather clock.


Up up I go.  I can start to see the water in the distance.



Is this an encouraging sign??



As I near the top, I have views of the wetlands, the sound, the town of Buxton and the Ocean.


Last window, up the enclosed stairs and I’ll be at the balcony.


And when I get there, the friendly ranger is waiting for me.  There is unfortunately no access to see the light from inside the lighthouse.  I’m not sure where the door for the keepers to access it is.  I don’t see it.


We chat as she tells me other places she’s been as a seasonal ranger and I tell her about my friend Gaelyn whose been at the North Rim for many years.


It’s a more windy day today than it was when I visited Bodie Island Light but the views are terrific.


It’s wonderful that the National Park Service owns so much of the southern section of the Outer Banks and we can see how wooded it actually was when the first English settlers stumbled on it and then disappeared.


I’m not sure if the town of Buxton could really be called a fishing village any more with all the vacation homes and seasonal residents.


Proof that I was here, proof that it was windy and blowing from the South.


I sure wish there was a closer view of the first order Fresnel Lens that still shines out every night.

Heading down I find some folks on their way up taking a break.


I notice on my way down that at a certain point, the walls have been recently painted.  I didn’t notice that on the way up.  Wonder when they do the painting? 


As I leave I notice the line is starting to form for the next group up.  Each group has a start time in order to control the number of people in the lighthouse at one time although they allow you to stay as long as you like.  


I head back to the museum where I watch the Virtual Climb film now that I’ve done the real climb.  Didn’t want to spoil it for myself.  Sort of like I read the book before I see the movie.

The film is excellent even for those who have climbed.  The narrator who is being filmed climbing shows you pretty much everything I saw and throws in a lot of interesting information.

The museum is chock full of even more details.  I spent nearly 2 hours reading about all the amazing history.  Here’s a tiny bit of it.

This map specifically shows where Diamong Shoals is.  The Diamong Shoals is where the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current collide and are so dangerous that the Lighthouse Service and later the Coast Guard maintained light ships from 1897 to 1967.

The light ships which marked the sandbars and turbulent currents have been driven ashore by storms, sunk by German U Boats in WWII and were finally replaced by the Diamond Shoals  light station was put further out.

The light station history is very interesting and can be found here on its web page and on its facebook page.   The map also shows the location of the wreck of the warship Monitor which was the first iron clad warship commissioned by the Union Navy during the Civil War.

A drawing of the original 1802 Hatteras Light House. Made of sandstone with a lamp powered by whale oil.   The map shows the location of the 1803 lighthouse which is clearly under water  now.  It also shows the 1871 lighthouse location as of 1980.  That too is underwater now.

The shore line map below is also interesting.  The blue line represents the shore in 1872.  The gold line is 1917.  Given that the shoreline has eroded even further in the 38 years since this drawing (sure wish they would update this), I wonder how long before the narrow strip of land which now connects Buxton with Avon is completely gone and Hatteras is truly an island.

Just for fun, here are some pictures of some early roads on Hatteras.  At first they were wooden plank.


If you weren’t careful to stay on the roads you might end up like this.


Storms in the area were legion and people lost their homes frequently.  This of course was when rebuilding was at your expense not via government subsidized insurance for beach front property.


Among the most interesting information was about the key roll the Outer Banks played in the Union Victory in the Civil War and the unique protection of the Outer Banks in WW II.

I had no idea that U Boats were off the coast and sending spys on to the shore.   By 1942, there were 19 U Boats operating off our coasts.  One evening in 1942 five of our ships attempting to supply the British were sunk, during March and April almost one ship a day went to the bottom.  Thus this area is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  

Paul Dahl missed his chance to be one of the  Coast Guard on horse back patrolling these shores in the 1940’s.  I wonder if his father, like his son, was in the Coast Guard and might have been here.

I spent a wonderful morning at the Cape Hatteras Light House and Museum from 9am, when they opened, until nearly noon.

If you come to this area, be sure to visit and leave plenty of time for all there is to see and learn.  Unfortunately for me I didn’t know there was a full moon climb here on the 29th of April and thus, even though I was in the area, I didn’t come down for it.  DARN!   I’ll be gone by the next full moon.  But thanks SO much to Suzanne for commenting and advising me to do it.  Wish I’d known sooner.  But if you come, now you know.