The town site, once a thriving eighteenth-century port on the Cape Fear River
, was partially excavated by historian Lawrence Lee and archaeologist Stanley South in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the artifacts unearthed during the excavations are on display at the Visitors Center, while others are stored in research collections in Raleigh
. Visitors to the Brunswick Town State Historic Site can view the artifacts from the excavations in the museum and Visitors Center and see the exposed foundations of Russellborough, St. Philips Church, and other colonial-period ruins. Though excavated, the ruins are left uncovered as archaeological exhibits. The self-guided tour also leads visitors through the Civil War earthworks of Fort Anderson. The story of Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson are told in a brief audio-visual program available for viewing in the museum and Visitors Center.