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About OPS

The Ocracoke Preservation Society is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to the preservation of Ocracoke Island's rich historical and cultural heritage.

Ocracoke Lighthouse on Ocracoke , North Carolina at sunset.The lighthouse was built to hel

Founded in 1983, OPS has maintained a free admission museum at the century-old David Williams House since 1992. This traditional two-story house was built around the year 1900. Its owner, David Williams, was the first Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard station on Ocracoke. The house is a contributing structure in the Ocracoke Historic District. In 1989, it was moved to its present location on National Park Service property to prevent its demolition and was subsequently restored.


We first opened our doors to the public in June of 1992. The ground floor rooms have been converted to serve as our museum, and the second floor contains a research library and administrative offices. The house and surrounding Ocracoke Historic District property are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Our Mission

The Ocracoke Preservation Society identifies, preserves, and restores significant Ocracoke structures and artifacts while educating the public on their historic and cultural value and strengthening community bonds.

Our Vision

To inspire the passion to discover, preserve, and cherish Ocracoke’s history and heritage.  

Our Team


Andrea Powers Tolson


Our Volunteers

The Ocracoke Preservation Society could not achieve its goals and keep the museum open without the incredible volunteers who dedicate their time and services to the organization. OPS is profoundly grateful to its volunteers, as well as those who loan or donate items to the museum. Our sincere thanks to you all!

Board of Directors

Ken DeBarth - President - Ocracoke, NC

Bill Cole - Vice President - Ocracoke, NC

Jeanie Owens - Secretary - Ocracoke, NC

Charlie Ralston - Treasurer - Ocracoke, NC

Deborah Wells - Member at Large - Ocracoke, NC


Peter Vankevich - Ocracoke, NC

Brant Godfrey - Winston Salem & Ocracoke, NC

Candy Gaskill - Ocracoke, NC

Robert Kornegay - Rocky Mount & Ocracoke, NC

Kathi Weiss - Washington, DC & Ocracoke, NC

Founding Board Members

David Esham - President

Calvin O'Neal - Vice President

Anita Fletcher - Secretary

Linda Scarborough - Treasurer

David Senseney - Education

Kay Riddick - Publicity

Blanche Styron - Member at Large


Ernest Cutler - Alex Eley - Elsie Garrish 

Philip Howard - Ronald O'Neal Jr. - John Ivey Wells

Larry Williams - Belle Willis

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