Hours: Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m.; Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Monday. Open to the public.
The primary mission of the Museum of the Cape Fear is to cover nearly four centuries of southeastern North Carolina history. However, for the Civil War enthusiast the museum offers a unique look at the war between the States as it unfolded in the Cape Fear region. The Civil War exhibit gallery offers an excellent collection of arms, tools used by craftsman at the Fayetteville Arsenal. In addition to the artifacts on display, the museum text contains compelling first-hand accounts of the experiences of local citizens during this troubled period. The Museum complex lies on the grounds of the arsenal itself, an antebellum military complex built by the US government throughout the 1830s and 1840s. Originally intended to be an "arsenal of construction", used for manufacturing purposes, it was downgraded to an "arsenal of deposit" for the storage of weapons and equipment. Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, and with the aid of machinery captured at Harper's Ferry, VA, the Fayetteville Arsenal began producing arms and ammunition for the Confederacy. A testament to its importance lies in its complete destruction by General Sherman's forces in March of 1865. The foundations that remain today, along with the interpretative signage and museum exhibits, serve as a monument to both Fayetteville military heritage, as well as the industrial ingenuity of the fledgling Confederate government.