About the Collections

Cape Fear Museum’s collection of more than 57,000 objects sheds light on the history, science, and cultures of the Lower Cape Fear.

The Museum’s collection, gathered since 1898, provides a view of the past. The first artifacts commemorated the Civil War and were what the founders called “Confederate relics.” Items now represent a larger timeframe and a range of different experiences.

The oldest items in the collection are Native American artifacts from the Archaic period (8000 BCE to 1000 BCE). The bulk of the collection spans the 17th through 21st centuries, with a heavy concentration in the 20th century. It includes historical photographs and documents as well as three dimensional artifacts such as furniture, tools, clothing, and toys.

The Museum's Collection Plan is a working document generated by and for museum staff to provide a guideline for collecting decisions, to better oversee the long-term development and refinement of the museum's collections.