The Belhaven Memorial Museum


Mission Statement

The Belhaven Memorial Museum is a non-profit organization whose mission is
to collect, display and preserve historical and cultural artifacts and objects and

to stimulate and encourage interest and support of the history, art, science and

culture of the Belhaven area, of Beaufort County, and of eastern North Carolina.

The museum builds upon the original collection of Mrs. Eva Blount Way (1869-1962).


History and Description

Mary Eva Blount Way (1869-1962), or "Miss Eva" as she was known affectionately,

was an avid collector. Her love of things unique began with a small but treasured

collection of buttons given to her by her mother-in-law. Over the years, she accumulated

approximately 30,000 buttons from throughout the United States and around the world.


At the same time, she began acquiring all manner of items of special significance to her,

including Christmas memorabilia, period clothing, toys and dolls, china, farm tools and specimens

from her natural environment.

As word of her preoccupation spread, friends and neighbors began to bring treasures from their

own lives and travels. The result is a fascinating array of priceless artifacts from Beaufort County,

NC and afar which represent nearly a century in the world of Mrs. Eva Blount Way.

In an effort to aid the Red Cross, Miss Eva began to showcase her collection from the Way home

beginning in about 1940. As the collection grew to more than 10,000 items, it eventually expanded

into the family barn. Following her death in 1962, at the age of 93, concerned citizens of the town

of Belhaven initiated efforts to purchase the collection.


On April 1, 1965, the Belhaven Memorial Museum was officially opened on the second floor of the

historic Belhaven Town Hall. The museum today is a unique learning center which allows visitors to

step back into the nineteenth century and glimpse one woman's silent testament to her life and times.


The Story of Mrs. Mary Eva Blount Way
--Excerpt from the unpublished autobiography

"I was born on a farm in Beaufort County in the year 1869 on the day after Christmas and I have

had Christmas in my bones ever since. I went to school in Pantego to the Pantego Academy.

I was married June 24, 1887 at the age of seventeen and came to live in this old house

(Beech Ridge) as a bride. It is located four miles from Belhaven.
I have five children and they are all married and live in five different states from Texas to North Carolina.

My youngest son entered the service in 1942 and my husband died in July 1943, so, since then, I

have been living alone here except for an accumulation of souvenirs and treasures of about 62 years of my life."


P.O. Box 220
Belhaven, NC 27810
(919) 943-6817

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