Frisco Native American Museum had it’s beginning over seventy years ago in the heart of museum founder, Carl Bornfriend, when he was just a young boy. Carl has had an appreciation for Native American cultures from his earliest memory. At a time when many people did not realize the importance of preserving native artifacts, Carl frequently saw beautiful items carelessly treated or destroyed. Though his own resources were limited, he often made sacrifices to become a keeper of the heritage.
When Carl moved to Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and met Joyce, they discovered a mutual love for historical preservation. Married in 1986, they brought a more than a half century of experience as educators to the task of creating the museum
Teaching full time, Carl used every spare minute developing exhibits in the oldest section of the current facility, opening the museum in 1987 as a non-profit educational foundation with 501 (c) (3) status. The building, of which the oldest part dates back to 1880, has a rich history as a general store and gathering place, post office and shell shop. The low ceiling, small rooms have slowly been transformed into delightful galleries. New additions to the facility have expanded both headroom and display space!
For the first four years, Joyce and Carl continued to work full time as educators and opened the museum Friday through Sunday during the school year and seven days a week in the summer. Land for the nature trail was acquired in 1989, and a year later when Carl’s health no longer permitted him to teach full time, the museum opened six days a week, year round.
Visitors and friends who discovered the museum in 1987 have shared its remarkable growth. A new gift shop was opened in 1989, and the old gift shop became display space. In 1991, a spacious pavilion was constructed on the nature trail, and in 1992, Hurricane Emily brought more than three feet of water through the facility. Recovery from Emily was challenging, but in 1995, a two story addition was built, providing a research facility, preparation areas, expanded storage space and the opportunity to convert the old gift shop into a natural history center!
In 2005, the museum underwent another major renovation, relocating the gift shop, creating a small book store, and adding more than a thousand square feet of new display room. A small observation room overlooking the bird yard was added to the Natural History Center, and a floating dock was constructed on the nature trail.
In 2010, a section of the nature trail was “re-designed” to create a dance circle under the trees. The new circle was created to debut with the 12th Annual Inter-Tribal Powwow, Journey Home, and the 1st Annual Living History weekend, Dancing Moccasins.