Morattico Waterfront Museum – History in the Northern Neck
MORATTICO – The Morattico Waterfront Museum is situated in the heart of the watermen’s village on the north shore of the Rappahannock River with commanding views of the river, Lancaster Creek, and Mulberry Bay. The village takes its name from the Moraughtacund Indians of the Algonquin Nation encountered in the area by Captain John Smith in 1608.
Steamships used Morattico as a port while traveling the Rappahannock River.
By 1889, construction of the Morattico Wharf at the south end of what is now Morattico Road brought steamboat commerce to an already thriving village center for agriculture, fishing, crabbing, and oystering. The wharf, one of the longest on the Rappahannock River, ceased operation with the end of steamboat trade shortly before the great storm of 1933.
Residents established the all-volunteer, non-profit museum in 2003 to preserve the cultural history of the village and maintain a community center. It is housed in the 1901 Morattico General Store building, in continuous operation as a country store serving the community through a succession of nine owners until 2002. The building and property are a gift to the museum and community from the Weston F. Conley, Jr. family. Conley’s parents operated the store from 1935 until 1953.
Establishment of the museum and community center in 2003 has had a dramatic effect on the village, bringing together lifelong residents and new property owners in a common effort to preserve the unique identity of the village and its tradition of neighbor helping neighbor.
Artifacts, photos, and documents related to activities in a working watermen’s settlement and the function of the general store are being preserved to honor the past and educate new generations.
Exhibits on display include: General Store memorabilia, Native American artifacts, early Morattico families, general Morattico history, crab and oyster rooms and farming.
The museum is located at 6584 Morattico Road, Morattico. For more information, visit www.morattico.org