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Museum of Chincoteague – Delve Into the Island’s Rich History

February 9th, 2019 by Corey A. Edwards

Misty of Chincoteague at the Museum of Chincoteague

Misty of Chincoteague at the Museum of Chincoteague
photo: brownpau

Most folks know about Misty of Chincoteague but that’s not all there is to know about Chincoteague Island. Come dig into our rich and often surprising past at the Museum of Chincoteague.

Marguerite Henry really put Chincoteague Island on the map when “Misty of Chincoteague” was published in 1947.

Her children’s story about the very real herds of wild ponies that still live on Assateague Island spawned sequels, a movie, and legions of fans. People still come to Chincoteague because of Misty and, of course, the wild ponies of Assateague.

Quite a few are excited to learn they can see the actual Misty – and her foal, Stormy – during their visit. Both are on display at the Museum of Chincoteague!

Museum of Chincoteague

The Museum of Chincoteague is proud to house two of the island’s most famous ambassadors, Misty and Stormy. They’re taxidermies, of course, but the actual horses from Henry’s famous books. “Misty of Chincoteague” is hardly the island’s only claim to fame, however …

From 1865 ’til around WWII the island was famous for its Chincoteague salt oysters. The museum contains lots of information from that period, including a wonderful, narrated diorama.

Chincoteague has a long and fascinating history, and you can see all aspects of it at the museum. Chincoteague Indians used to gather shellfish on our shores and the first land grant issued to a European settler occurred in 1650.

The island’s Civil War history is particularly interesting. Chincoteague was a Union territory … located offshore the Confederate State of Virginia. We had to have our own protective warship!

The Museum of Chincoteague also houses the original and gigantic Fresnel lens from Assateague Lighthouse. Its focused light helped guide ships as far as 23 miles offshore, from 1865 to 1961.

Oral Histories & Decoy Carvers

The Museum of Chincoteague’s mission is to collect and interpret the historical progression of life on the island. One of the ways is through contributions from residents, sometimes in the form of oral histories.

Many of the voices and stories of the people of Chincoteague Island can be heard at the museum. Stories from the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, for example. A level 5 Nor’easter that killed 40 people, injured thousands, and caused hundreds of millions in damage.

There is also footage of famous Chincoteague decoy carver, hunter, and waterman, Tom Reed. Chincoteague has a rich decoy carving history and the museum often hosts decoy related events. In fact, there is a Decoy Carving Class at the museum, led by a local decoy carver, scheduled for March 1 – 2, 2019.

The Museum of Chincoteague Island

7125 Maddox Blvd, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336
Open 11am to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday, between Memorial Day and Labor day. Friday through Sunday between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Learn more about the Museum of Chincoteague with a visit to the museum website.

Historic Chincoteague Lodging

You don’t have to go to the museum to see Chincoteague history. Get a taste of Chincoteague history right here at The 1848 Island Manor House bed and breakfast! We offer more elegance than history, however, with 9 well-appointed guestrooms, gourmet breakfasts, modern conveniences, and so much more. Book your stay at our Chincoteague B&B today!

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