Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

BEHIND THE SCENES

August 16, 1998|By Karin Remesch

Mission: To document and interpret waterfowl decoys as a uniquely American folk art and to foster public awareness and support for the conservation and preservation of waterfowl and their natural habitats. The museum also strives to educate the public about the influence that the surrounding environment, the Susquehanna Flats and the Chesapeake Bay, had on decoy history. The museum is home to one of the finest collections of working decoys from the Chesapeake Bay ever assembled.

Latest accomplishment: The R. Madison Mitchell decoy workshop opened to the public in April. The original shop of the late Havre de Grace decoy carver, known as the grandfather of decoy carvers, was disassembled and moved to the museum site, where it was reconstructed and restored. The museum also recently opened a Web site, www.decoymuseum.com. Recent donations of decoys by the Ward brothers, decoys from Louisiana and a collection of books increased the museum's assets to more than $1 million.

On the horizon: The annual Duck Fair takes place Sept. 12-13. The event

features decoy carvers, waterfowl artists, duck- and goose-calling contests, children's activities, auctions and whittling contests. In the fall, two new exhibits on decoys from the West Coast flyway and the Southern flyway are scheduled to open.

About the museum: Membership: 1,300 households. Attendance: 20,000 annually. Operating budget: $449,000.

Where and when: 215 Giles St., Havre de Grace. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; closed New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call 410-939-3739.

Dr. John Carriere, president of the board of directors on the opening of the R. Madison Mitchell workshop: "Except for a small staff, the museum is a volunteer organization and the workshop clearly demonstrates how we, as a group, function. The project was six years in the making. ... The shop is a tremendous asset to the museum. It houses an exhibit complete with an R. Madison Mitchell mannequin, and carvers use the workshop and its equipment to demonstrate their art."

Members of the board:

Michael Affleck

Allen Fair

Fred Gillotte Jr.

Kenny Lay

Terran Miller

Henry Schreiber

Jim Pierce

William Pyle

Madelyn Shank

Bill Smart

Norm Smith

Walter Smith

Mert Street

Warner Taylor

Pat Vincenti

Dave Walker

! Pub date: 8/16/98

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