Outer Banks History Center

The Outer Banks History Center is a regional archives and research library in Manteo, N.C. on historic Roanoke Island administered by the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina. Its holdings document the history and culture of the North Carolina coast and adjacent areas.

Each year the History Center responds to research requests from scholars, writers, historians, journalists, genealogists, film makers, exhibit designers, the general public, and such national broadcast media as the History Channel, the Weather Channel, and National Public Radio. Please visit, call, or email. We’ll be glad to help you.

Reference Services

The Outer Banks History Center is administered by the Division of Archives and Records and operates under North Carolina General Statutes 121 and 132 in carrying out its archival mission and programs. All are welcome to visit the Outer Banks History Center in person to conduct research. The Reading Room has reference and reading areas, public access computers, a microfilm reader-printer, photocopier, and access to audiovisual equipment. Our knowledgeable staff of archivists is available to assist with research and to retrieve materials from our stack room for use in the reading room. History Center staff can conduct limited reference services by phone, e-mail, correspondence, and fax. Lengthy or involved research may require an onsite visit.

Searching our collections may be conducted online through our catalog, MARS (Manuscripts and Archives Reference System). The History Center also maintains online finding aids to some of its holdings. 

Hours of Operation

The History Center Reading Room is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are closed Saturdays, Sundays and all state holidays and may be closed during severe weather conditions. The History Center Gallery is open daily, excepting some state holidays, March through December, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact Information

Physical Location:
1 Festival Park Boulevard, 
Manteo, NC 27954 

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 250, 
Manteo, NC 27954 

Telephone: (252) 473-2655; 
Fax: (252) 473-1483; 
Email: obhc@ncdcr.gov 
Hours, location, and map

Reproduction Services

The History Center provides in-house photocopy, scanning and photographic reproduction services. Some holdings are subject to restrictions due to preservation concerns or require donor permission before being copied. Please consult our online fee schedule for complete information.


Requesting Information by Mail or Email

Beginning July 1, 2012 in accordance with policies of our parent agency, the State Archives of North Carolina, a $20 search and handling fee will be required for all researchers who are not residents of North Carolina for each reference inquiry delivered remotely via e-mail, correspondence, or fax. The limits of this fee are established by statute and it includes up to 20 photocopies, 8 copies from microfilm, or 1 scanned image. If copies of the requested information cannot be covered by the $20 fee, there may be an additional charge based on our current fee schedule, in which case, a statement of copying costs will be included in our response. We encourage out-of-state researchers to contact the Outer Banks History Center by phone or e-mail with an initial inquiry to determine the degree to which we anticipate being able to fulfill the search. To expedite fulfillment of your order if you wish to proceed, please complete and submit a Reference Request form by e-mail, mail, or fax to initiate your inquiry Be sure to include contact information in case we have questions. See this form also for methods of payment.

Education and Outreach Services

In the History Center Gallery adjacent to the Reading Room, we present a wide-ranging selection of exhibits on topics of Outer Banks history and culture. The Outer Banks History Center is an active resource for the community and region. The staff conducts historical, genealogical, and cultural programs and activities and maintains an ongoing exhibit program. Call the History Center at 252-473-2655 for more information about our current exhibit and upcoming programs.

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