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Fort Fisher State Historic Site to Announce Plans for New Visitors Center


State officials will visit Fort Fisher State Historic Site in New Hanover County Friday, Aug. 4 to announce funding and design plans for a new, expanded visitors center and museum to replace the historic site’s smaller, aging predecessor. The event will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site Visitors Center, 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd. South, Kure Beach.

N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi H. Hamilton and Representative Ted Davis Jr. are scheduled to speak at the event, and will be joined by representatives from the historic site; Friends of Fort Fisher, the site’s longtime support group; and the design team for the project.

“Thanks to the invaluable support of Rep. Ted Davis, this year’s state budget included $5 million towards the construction of a new, much-needed visitors center and museum at Fort Fisher Historic Site,” said Secretary Hamilton. “As our most-visited historic attraction, this site, which was originally opened in the 1960s, deserves to have a facility our staff and our citizens can be proud of, and one that can accommodate the large number of visitors it sees every year.”

Located on the beach at Federal Point, just 18 miles south of Wilmington, the site has become an increasingly popular tourist attraction. Visitation has increased rapidly within the last few years, reaching almost 835,000 in fiscal year 2016-17, making Fort Fisher the most-visited publicly-owned historic attraction in North Carolina.

In response to the increase in visitation, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the N.C. Division of Historic Sites, and Friends of Fort Fisher collaborated on a Fort Fisher Master Plan, released in early 2016, which includes as its first priority the construction of a new 20,000-square-foot visitors center and museum to replace the current one.

The current visitors center, opened in 1965, was designed to accommodate a maximum of 25-30,000 visitors per year, far fewer than the number of visitors it now supports.

The new facility, almost four times the size of the original, will provide space for expanded permanent exhibits, a changing exhibit gallery, an expanded auditorium, an educational classroom, rental facilities for special events, an expanded gift shop and additional office space for staff.