Linda A. Carlisle, Secretary
Department of Cultural Resources
Contact: Don Pendergraft (252) 335-1453
Release: February 9, 2009
Fay Mitchell (919) 807-7389
ELIZABETH CITY - Traditions of duck hunting and decoy making are brought to life at the Museum of the Albemarle in their newest exhibit entitled, Art DuckO: Waterfowl Culture in North Carolina. This exhibit opens in the museum’s new expansion gallery with a "Family Day" on Sunday, March 8, at 2:00 pm. More than 100 decoys by noted carvers, unique feathered fashions, and several exciting, interactive activities are featured in this fun and free exhibit.
Waterfowl carving and hunting have greatly influenced the region and state and still influence area residents. "The ones who hunt, their sons want to hunt," explains Currituck sportsman Wilson Snowden. Many of the decoy carvers highlighted in Art DuckO are part of family legacies. They come from areas such as Back Bay, Virginia, as well as Knotts Island, Currituck and Dare County sounds and beaches. The waterfowl history of the state is rich and North Carolina was known in the late 1800s as the "Waterfowl Capitol of the World."
"It’s hard to tell older people sometimes that these things need to be displayed," Snowden explains. "But years ago, I would not have thought to put decoys in a museum." Seemingly ordinary items displayed within Art DuckO explain the dramatic impact waterfowl played upon the region. A significant industry was born in the 1930s when Northerners began to buy hunting and decorative decoys locally. A recreated Currituck County decoy carver’s workshop interprets how patterns, tools, and carvings were used. The key waterfowl story is also told with several bird species found wintering our coast on loan from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
On the lighter side, Art DuckO includes a feathered fashions section showcasing trendy styles, which spurred market hunting from 1870 to 1920. Ducks also became popular children’s toys. On display will be an original 1890 Mother Goose pencil box, 1946 Donald Duck camera, and a 1970 original rubber duck. Just for fun, visitors of any age can "Quack Up!" by riding a rocking duck, designing color schemes of a decoy, trying on camouflage clothing, and even going on a virtual duck hunt. There is a "Quack Fact Quiz" to test what you have learned throughout the exhibit.
For additional information on the exhibit, call (252) 335-1453. The Museum of the Albemarle is part of the Division of State History Museums in the NC Department of Cultural Resources, a state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts, history, and culture. Cultural Resources is observing the 2009 theme, "Treasure NC Culture" and podcasts 24/7 with information about the Department of Cultural Resources at www.ncculture.com.