Monday, November 1, 2010

The Decoy Museum

Well, obviously... it is a museum about ducks.  But before we get too deep into the wtf /what a country marvel of that, let's enjoy together the idea of a truly decoy museum.

Every little town, and certainly our midsized cities, could use a decoy museum.  It can be either breathtakingly neo-classic -- a Parthenon overlooking the rest of the town --  or one of those funky "used to to be a hair salon but now houses a collection of Victorian dollhouses (or worse).  Local people aren't going to go anyway, and tourists aren't coming to visit, so it doesn't have to be an actual  museum.  It's just nice to have a museum on the local website, and the brochures.  Realtors like it.

We've all done this -- mope around our cramped living rooms that there is "nothing to do in this town," and if we lived in The City (your pick), there would be symphonies, and theatre, and art, and.... we wouldn't go to them.

In all these planned communities we are building nowadays, with town squares and chess tables.... and I am not against them in principle.  Your town was built the same way, just more slowly, with better architecture.  As long as we are throwing up grids and coffee shops, let's throw in the decoy museum.   Greatest of All Sisters and a high school study group had to make a "model town" for some project (in the 70s, we were big on building models of things) and we labeled a box of Monopoly Hotels and Houses and glued them to a plywood tray (I say "we," because I could never turn down a project, even when it wasn't mine.  I had already done my math problem set, even numbers inclusive....).  We had a church and a hospital and a high school, all the things we thought a proper American Civilization would have.  I do not recall if we had a decoy museum.  I don't think even the Life board has a museum. (who knew)

But about these ducks.  "Through tours, lectures, demonstrations, special events, and a series of exhibits that range from single display cases to room-sized waterfowling displays, the Decoy Museum strives to communicate the heritage of Upper Bay decoy making to a national audience." 

2700 objects.  Not all ducks.  They got them a boat in there.  (In Havre de Grace, this is pronounced "boout."  And pronounced is pronounced "per-newnct.") 
Here's the narrative:  history, hunting, carving.  I admire that they don't try to take on more than is necessary.  Havre de Grace is the "decoy capital of the world," they say.  This may be like calling yourself an all-America City or  heart-friendly.  But I expect that if you have 2000 duck decoys in one place, you probably don't have much competition.  (said from the Russian Icon Capital of America)

If you do not live near the Decoy Museum, or will not be passing through Havre de Grace, as I was when I saw the sign but could not stop for ducks, be of good cheer.  America is large enough to accommodate many such collections, including
  • Barnegat Bay Decoy and Bayman's Museum - Tuckerton, New Jersey
  • Core Sound Waterfowl Museum - Harker's Island, North Carolina
  • Refuge Waterfowl Museum - Chincoteague, Virginia (hobo ducks!)
  • Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art - Salisbury, Maryland
Ok, so still a Chesapeake thing, I guess.  Where people do sort of sound like ducks.

1 comment:

  1. It's not nearly as cool as a decoy museum, but there is a roadside museum in Florida where a man will show you all the letters of the alphabet and the first ten digits all NATURALLY grown as twigs - no splicing, dicing or gluing to enhance the natural twig. He collected them over his lifetime and maintains the collection for the edification of the general population that passes thru rural Florida.

    This is for real. Mitchell and I have see the entire collection.


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