$175,000 to go!

As of today (two weeks from the day the letters left our post office) our contributions for the RAISE OUR ROOF campaign total $21,565, representing 141 givers in amounts from $10 to $1000.  THANK YOU!

We have grant applications and corporate proposals underway, but nothing counts like YOUR gifts.  Your support and contributions are critical to those applications and proposals — it shows that OUR community is invested in helping the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center rebuild. So, please keep those gifts coming in. We’ve still got $175,000 to go!

Tomorrow, we sign the contract for our new roof believing - and knowing - that our members, friends and supporters will come through. YOU are the "how and the why" we are here!

If you haven't already, NOW would be an important time to send that check!  The roofers are scheduled to be begin work May 1.  Only you can help us meet our goal by then.

Museum Damage Preliminary Report

It has been a hard week for all of us personally and as a community. The storm has brought heartaches big and small to Down East and throughout Eastern North Carolina. Many are still in the midst of flooding and returning to completely ravaged towns and neighborhoods, and our heart goes out to them.  We remain thankful that Florence came in at 100 mph instead of 140 and that we have homes to repair and clean. We are blessed, and we know it.

Throughout Down East and all of Carteret County we’ve began putting back the pieces. Friends and strangers from all over have called, showed up with supplies, and donated to our relief fund - a critical part of helping Down East rebuild. In all these ways, the Museum’s role in this community has been reaffirmed.

In the midst the of the damage and pain throughout Down East, the Museum has suffered far more damage than originally seen. I’ve waited to share an update on the status on the museum, not wanting to add to the burden around us or deter attention, but you must know. It is time for our community, members and friends throughout the region to know where we are at here “at the end of the road.”

My first trip to the museum to check on the building was all about making sure the roof had not blown off, a tree had not fallen on it, and the tide had not gotten in. I was relieved and thankful that none of that happened. The next day, I found leaks, some we had anticipated and others new, but it seemed that for the most part all was in fairly good condition. I knew we’d need a new roof on the back and carpets cleaned but thought the museum had weathered the storm reasonably well.

I was wrong.

On Monday, when the rain had finally stopped and the sun had came out, we began to see the extent of the damage. By then it was clear that the leaks were significant and a serious mold and mildew problem had developed in the building.

We contacted ServPro, a commercial water damage restoration and mold remediation company, immediately. Mold was growing in the carpet, the floors were buckling and sheetrock was falling in places throughout the building. Pam’s office was soaking wet. The education hall had major leaks and moisture had spread behind the sheetrock throughout the museum. Some areas — the library, gift shop, kitchen, and tower — all seem to be in good condition with the exception of the spreading mold and mildew.  

Adjusters are scheduled this week for both the the museum building policy and collections policy. We have been working closely with our local insurance company Chalk & Gibbs and they are confident that ServPro is the right company to lead this restoration effort. The National Park Service has cleared the yards and cut the leaning trees away.

For now, we know the work ahead will require all the carpet to removed and much of the sheetrock replaced. The building will be sealed to properly dry and treat the structure. We are preparing to remove the collection in order to have the objects and artifacts cleaned, packed, and properly stored. Dehumidifiers and drying fans have already been placed in the building, the roof has been tarped to try to help prevent further damage and museum staff are working from home. Our office phone number is now forwarded to cell phones and the offices are being cleared out. The museum store is ready to pack and the work toward recovery is underway.

Once the adjusters are on site, we can get a more specific understanding of the extent of the damage, what the policy covers, what it doesn’t, and what additional funds will be needed. We are already researching other sources including USDA, FEMA and other state/federal disaster assistance for community institutions.

In the meantime, we are looking at how best to maintain our operation while this work is happening. We hope to have temporary office on site as soon as possible and will be moving our store operation into town. Museum staff will need your help as soon as temporary locations are confirmed. The work will go on.

For all of us who have walked through that building, our hearts are broken. All the years and years of hard work…now to do over again. But we are determined. It will be what it was and even more beautiful soon. This is a solemn moment in the museum’s history for sure. But we will rise again, you just wait and see.  

Our first concern remains helping our community get back in their homes, churches and businesses. People are who and what we are about. Despite the damage to the building, the museum will continue to help our friends and family pull their lives back together.

Resources are stretched right now with all the damage south and inland — and we will work hard to put our troubles in perspective. But, this museum we have all invested out hearts and minds and millions of dollars into, has lots of hard work ahead. Someway, somehow, we will take this as another opportunity to show our determination, commitment and strength.

Once we know more about the extent of repairs, what the insurance will cover and what the sources of federal and state disaster aid are needed and available, we will map out a plan to do whatever it takes to restore this sacred place in a way that will be even more meaningful as the centerpiece of Down East heritage. I know we can and I know we will, but it will take time and all of us rededicated to this building and what it means to our community. “We can do hard things.”

Press Release | CSWMHC partners with CCPSF for Hurricane Relief in Down East

Press Release


Media Contact:

Karen Amspacher, Tabbie Nance

252-723-0982,  (252) 728-4583 ext 1137

kwamspacher@gmail.com, tabbie.nance@carteretk12.org



CARTERET COUNTY, NC, SEPTEMBER 17, 2018 -- Carteret County Public Schools Foundation & Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center are partnering to provide hurricane relief for school children and families of Carteret County.

“As we did during Hurricane Isabel in 2003, our shared purpose is to provide resources for families to help return to their homes as soon as possible following the devastation brought about by flood waters, wind damage and loss of family income due to the impacts of Hurricane Florence,“  explained Karen Willis Amspacher, Director of the CSWM&HC.

“One Hundred Percent of contributions made to this effort will be directed to families in need of economic assistance as reviewed by school personnel,” added Tabbie Nance, Public Information Officer for Carteret County Schools.

Foundation and Museum coordinators Tabbie Nance and Karen Amspacher will work with classroom teachers, guidance counselors and school personnel to identify and help meet the immediate and long term needs of  Carteret County families.

Carteret County Public Schools Foundation will focus on families with students in the mainland communities surrounding and including Beaufort, Morehead City, Newport, Bogue Banks and Highway 24.

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center will direct their resources to families in need throughout the Down East communities including South River and Merrimon.

Together the CCPSF and the CSWM&HC will ask for contributions locally and statewide to help all of Carteret County.

Checks can be made payable to:

Carteret County Public Schools Foundation

107 Safrit Drive, Beaufort, NC 28516

Attn:  Tabbie Nance

Memo: Hurricane Florence Relief

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center

PO Box 556, Harkers Island, NC 28531

Attn:  Karen Amspacher

Memo: Hurricane Florence Community Relief

Donations to support the Down East relief efforts may also be made online at http://www.coresound.com/hurricane-relief

Carteret County Schools Superintendent Matt Bottoms and Core Sound Museum Board Chairman Lockwood Phillips ask you support of this important partnership for Carteret County families.  


Days of Reckoning

Dear Core Sound Family, 

Today  has been a day of reckoning in many ways as we are realizing where we are in this saga and what we need to do. It has also been a day of thanksgiving that our challenges will be overcome with help from folks who love Down East and care about us. Sometimes we have to be reminded...  

We are also learning, even with limited connections to the news, of the devastation of our neighbors all around us and our hearts go out to them too. We know we are not alone 

Many of you have given to the relief efforts and we are encouraged by your gifts.  Others are asking what they can do and we are working with community leaders to get an assessment of who needs what so that we can help coordinate volunteers with needs. As soon as we know we will put out the call. Right now roads coming this way are impassable but hopefully by the time we have our needs list folks can get here to help. We will work through it - together!  

Thank you again for caring!  Your calls, texts, emails and concern help in ways that are hard to explain. 

See below for a recap covering all of Down East from JJ Smith. 

Karen & Crew


DOWN EAST — Down East residents are once again picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and preparing to recover from another devastating hurricane.
For the third time this century – following Isabel in 2003 and Irene in 2011 – those east of Beaufort have taken a punch in the gut thanks to Florence.
Significant flooding and heavy winds and rain took their toll on the communities during Thursday and Friday. Roads were under water and numerous trees were down in yards and hanging on power lines. Homes were missing shingles and some were heavily damaged. Other property was also lost.
Words like “hell,” “nightmare” and “war zone” were shared by those who lived through the last 48 hours to describe their circumstances.
“It’s the worst storm I have weathered in 43 years,” said Kathryn Smith Chadwick, a Stacy resident. “The flooding is worse than Isabel. We need prayers for the people.”
Ms. Chadwick was one of many who claimed Florence was at least as bad, if not worse than Isabel and Irene, both of which destroyed many Down East dwellings.
Homes along the Loop Road and on Hwy 70 in Stacy were surrounded by water.
It didn’t make them unique in the area.
Parts of Cedar Island, Sea Level, Davis, Williston and other towns stood under water.
Residents of Cedar Island said the storm surge there was 6.5 feet. It was 8 feet in Isabel, according to those there.
Parts of Hwy 12 were underwater leading to Cedar Island, as were parts of Hwy 70 near the North River Bridge leading out of Bettie.
According to the National Weather Service, there was a 98 mph wind gust in Davis and an 89 mph wind gust at Cedar Island.
The Down East Fire Department in Sea Level sustained 2.5 feet of flooding.
“It’s been a long 24 hours and we still have a while to go,” firefighter-EMT Loni Doshier said. “As of right now, we can confirm one house has a tree through it. There is lots of debris and water at this time. You can’t access some side roads due to flooding.”
Those residents who ventured out took pause at the Oyster Creek Bridge, leading out of Stacy and into Davis, due to a downed power pole and lines hovering across the road.
Much of Davis was flooded. Hwy 70 through Williston was covered in pine straw, tree limbs, boats and even household appliances.
The westbound lane of Harkers Island Road leading away from the bridge was completely washed out. The N.C. Department of Transportation was aware of the situation and planning on attending to the road as soon as possible, according to officials with Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Harkers Island, like many others, was particularly hard hit.
“We have lived here 34 years and this is the most water we have ever had in our yard,” April Lilley said. “It was absolutely horrible. There are four homes that I know of on the island that are no longer livable.”
Sheila Moore of Bayview Drive owned one of those homes.
“It’s a total loss,” said her daughter, Shelley Garner. “All the rooms are covered with sheet rock and insulation.”
Ms. Moore’s home lost all of its shingles and the leaks led to the ceiling collapsing and dropping water all over the inside of the house. She dropped her wind insurance a couple of years ago because it was too expensive, so she’ll face the rebuild without insurance.
“There are many other similar stories,” Ms. Lilley said. “We have been in a fight with nature and she has given us three big punches that will take a long time to overcome. It is a life-changing event.”

The Day After Report

After two long days — and even longer nights — Down East Carteret County remains thankful that Florence’s wrath has left us more determined than ever to be the community we have always been. Times like these make us who we are.

The damage here is extensive – as it is throughout the southeast region of our great state. From Cedar Island to Harkers Island and throughout Carteret County and beyond, homes are flooded, businesses damaged, cars lost, and families displaced. However, we all continue to be thankful that this storm came as a category 2 and not the category 4 originally predicted.  Had it been any stronger, there would be nothing left but ruin.

Damage on Harkers Island has been overwhelming.  One lane of the bridge causeway by the boat ramp was washed out; the fishing pier destroyed; and the damage to businesses, homes and our beautiful tree line is heartbreaking.

Throughout Down East, roofs have blown off, buildings demolished and bulkheads severely damaged. Still, we are thankful that we have homes and businesses to repair!  And one important note: the commercial fleet at the Island Harbor of Refuge is holding strong, and we are proud and encouraged at the sight of them!

Superintendent Jeff West has, literally, worked all night to protect the NPS and Museum properties. He reported early this morning that the NPS Ferry Marina has suffered significant damage, likely a total loss for this season, and the Park overall has been battered. He will not know the extent of damage on Cape Lookout, Shackleford, Core Banks and Portsmouth until the weather clears and an assessment can be made, and we will let you know. A sad picture is likely.

The Museum building has suffered roof damage, causing leaks throughout the building, but we are thankful that the trees that fell are in the parking lot and the tide stayed out of the building. We have already called our insurance company but there are damages and needs that insurance will not cover.  We will be working to identify the repairs and replacements needed over the next several days. We will also schedule a workday soon to clear the yards and cleanup the mess Florence has left behind. We will let you know when that will be. Thank you.

Our first priority now is to help our community. As we did following Isabel in 2003, the CSWM&HC will be working with the Carteret County Public Schools to identify school children and families in need of financial and volunteer help.  We will work with classroom teachers, guidance counselors and school personnel to identify those most in need and work to provide help in getting kids back in their homes ready for school and their lives back to normal. CSWM&HC will focus on the schools serving Down East Carteret County (Atlantic, Smyrna, Harkers Island, East Carteret) and the Carteret County Public Schools Foundation will be working with the other schools in the county. Together we will identify, screen and commit 100% of funds designated to community relief to families in need.  Again, it will take all of us giving, working and sharing the need to put our communities back together again. Donations may be made to this effort online or checks can be mailed to CSWM&HC, PO Box 556, HI, NC 28531 – ATTN: community & family hurricane relief.

For now, we are anxiously waiting for the rain to stop, the wind to calm and the tide to fall so we can get to work. We cannot do this without you — your time, your help, and your continued support as our people face the days ahead.

Your calls, texts, emails and prayers have been felt throughout the Core Sound family all week long and we would have never made it through last night’s marathon without you.  All along we knew that you will be here to help us serve our communities, repair our building and continue being the community institution that we are.

We will pull together an updated report in the next day or so.  In the meantime, know that we appreciate all you do for us all the time – especially in times like these!

Weary but determined,

Karen & Crew

Florence's Approach

To All Our Core Sound Friends Near and Far,

Many, many thanks to everyone who has called, emailed, texted or reached out to us. This week has been hard as we decide —and some folks still deciding — whether to stay, what to take, what to put in plastic, and how to best secure everything we own… what to do, what to do.

This morning’s forecast had yet another possibility of the storm stalling just off the coast — while the tide and wind pound us —and then turning south!  Bottom line: we don’t know, they don’t know! We do know for sure that a storm is coming and that we will have days of rain, tide and wind ahead. At this point, the question is “how long will it last?” — whatever it is.

In the meantime, while the sun is shining, we want thank you for caring about us. You have no idea how much it helps to know that all across North Carolina and all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, Maine, Georgia, Florida and wherever Core Sound is known, friends are concerned about us.  Thank you. Many have decided to leave — not knowing what they will come back to or when — and many are staying — which has its own terrifying questions; but here we are, ready to get Florence out of our lives so we can move forward. 

The museum, like all of Down East, is boarded up.  The museum’s priceless collection of original artwork and our most valuable decoys are packaged in plastic tubs and placed in safe places in the building. All the exhibits are covered in plastic and the computers are backed up. It will take us weeks to put it all back together, but we’ve done all we can do to keep all that our community has entrusted us to preserve as safe as possible. That beautiful, hard-earned building is strong; we planned for such a time as this, so maybe, just maybe, the roof will hold and the tide will spare us.

Many have asked what they can do to help and we appreciate knowing when this storm has gone you’ll be here to help our community move forward. We remember Isabel in 2003 and how many museum members and friends helped families throughout Down East rebuild their homes and lives by working with local schools to help get children back in their homes and with their families. That’s what we do here — we are a community, connected by a love for this place and our people. We know you’ll come through for us.  

We do not know what the needs will be on the other side of this storm but we will reach out to all of you to help in any way you can. In the meantime, Down East, like all of eastern North Carolina and now South Carolina and beyond, need your prayers. We are reassured and do believe, that whatever Florence brings to us, we will come through it stronger than before.

This year’s “Harm’s Way” exhibit reminded us of just how much this place and our ancestors have endured, adapted and how they survived storms just as mean as this one, and we are know we will too. We will be adding a page to www.harmswaystormstories.com early next year, so please share with us your stories, pictures, writings, and thoughts.

Thank you again for caring about us individually and as a community. Pam, Deb, Teresa and I are all staying home and our friend, Jeff, NPS superintendent, will remain on the Park during the storm, so we will know soon, and will let you know, what we have to do to get the museum doors open again so we can help our community get back up and running asap.  In the meantime, families first!

For All Down East, 

Karen & Crew

PS:  We will do our best to keep everyone, everywhere, updated as best we can via social media and email. For all those who are in the storm’s path, we want to hear from you too.