One of the best places to see Beaufort’s maritime history come to life is at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center on Front Street in Beaufort. It’s a working boatbuilding facility that comes alive with the sounds and smells of traditional North Carolina wooden boatbuilding. It truly showcases the art and skill of traditional boat builders.
When you walk through the doors and step onto the viewing platform, above the shop floor, you’ll discover it’s a great place to watch the boats take shape, from frame to finished product. The John S. MacCormack Ship Model Shop provides visitors a unique opportunity to witness a craft as old as shipbuilding itself taking shape – the construction of wooden model boats.
The shop was named after John S. MacCormack, the first model shipbuilder at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center.
Through the large glass wall of the model shop, visitors have the opportunity to watch members of the Carolina Maritime Model Society meticulously and methodically build small wooden boats. These handcrafted vessels are indeed a labor of love, sometimes taking 12 to 14 months to complete.