The Museum of Chincoteague Island, a non-profit educational institution, is located on the left side of Maddox Blvd., just before the entrance to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Founded in 1965, as the Oyster Museum, Inc. by a group of Island women, the Museum opened in 1972 and operated through 2010 as the Oyster and Maritime Museum. The Museum changed its name to more correctly reflect its collection and was completely renovated in 2011. Since 2011, the Museum has built on its newly renovated exhibits by adding new exhibits every season. There is always something new to see. The Museum features special programming and sponsors the Roads Scholars programs on Chincoteague.
The Museum is dedicated to preserving the people, culture and heritage of the Island. Exhibits display life on this barrier island chronologically from before man to the present. Objects on display include fossils dredged from the waters around the Island and items salvaged from shipwrecks along our coast. Exhibits include implements from our oyster and seafood industry along with a contemporaneous video of oystering beginning with planting the beds to canning for shipment. The Gilded Age exhibit depicts life on the Island in the late 1800’s into the early 20th century when wealthy merchants owned large Victorian homes on the Island. There are historical artifacts from our churches, businesses and volunteer fire company including an 1880 hand pumper wagon and items from the rich traditions of the carnival. Visitors are welcomed by a first order Fresnel lens manufactured in Paris in 1866 used to light the Assateague Lighthouse. The Museum brings alive the community’s early sailing history in an exhibit of models of early vessels used by watermen on our bays, creeks, and channels. There is a video of the 1962 flood that impacted life on the Island. Other exhibits portray the development of the causeway and the bridges that connect Chincoteague to both Assateague and the mainland.
The Museum is open from April through Thanksgiving weekend.