Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

Havre de Grace Decoy Museum Free Parking and Gift Shop!Modest Admission Fee.Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, New Year's Day, and Easter. For more information visit our website.
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The mission of the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum is to document, preserve, and interpret the history of waterfowl decoys as a unique form of folk art that has become a distinctive element in the cultural landscape of this region – the Susquehanna Flats and the Chesapeake Bay. The Museum seeks to engage and educate its visitors with exceptional exhibits that describe this rich heritage and the interplay among the region, its people, and the art of decoy making since the 19th century. The Museum strives to transfer this knowledge to our future generations. We also publish The Canvasback, a quarterly journal now in its 23rd year. Follow us on Instagram @havredegrace_decoymuseum and Twitter @decoymuseum

Less than one week to purchase your raffle tickets!  Drawing will be held THIS Saturday (not Sunday) at 6 p.m.
12/09/2019

Less than one week to purchase your raffle tickets! Drawing will be held THIS Saturday (not Sunday) at 6 p.m.

Have you purchased your Fall Raffle tickets yet? The drawing is approximately one month away, so get them while you can!

Harford County hunting: Meet the good dogs who bring home the birds
12/04/2019
Harford County hunting: Meet the good dogs who bring home the birds

Harford County hunting: Meet the good dogs who bring home the birds

These are busy times for waterfowlers in Maryland, where hunting season runs intermittently from October through January. Nowhere does it resonate more than in Harford County, home to some of the state’s best duck-hunting as well as a trove of sportsmen and their dogs.

The Decoy Museum will be closed today so that we may celebrate with our families.  We will re-open tomorrow at 10:30 a.m...
11/28/2019

The Decoy Museum will be closed today so that we may celebrate with our families. We will re-open tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

Parents!  Bring your child for a winter break escape.
11/27/2019

Parents! Bring your child for a winter break escape.

A great night for a lecture at the Decoy Museum.  Thanks to C. John Sullivan and all who joined us this evening!  Stay t...
11/25/2019

A great night for a lecture at the Decoy Museum. Thanks to C. John Sullivan and all who joined us this evening! Stay tuned for our next event is January - Jim Pierce!!

Dave enjoys fishing and hunting, and has done them since high school. That is only natural as his father was an avid hun...
11/22/2019

Dave enjoys fishing and hunting, and has done them since high school. That is only natural as his father was an avid hunter and fisherman. Since Dave retired from American Cyanamid in 1989, he has continued to hunt and fish. He has also made decoys. In 1990, Dave estimated he had made about 7,000 decoys. In a 1994 interview, his estimated his production was 800 decoys per year.

11/21/2019
Delta Waterfowl Foundation

Decoy Carving is greatly important to the local Havre de Grace culture. And many of the carvers today learned from the greats of the past. You can check out this video discussing the history of carving from the Delta Waterfowl Foundation featuring our Featured Carver Dave Walker, as well as carvers Pat Vincenti, Captain Bob Jobes, and Bryan Bodt.

Havre de Grace decoy carvers Pat Vincenti, Captain Bob Jobes, David Walker and Bryan Bodt discuss the long history of carving in the area.

Dave Walker begins making a decoy with a white pine or basswood 2 inch board onto which the head outline is drawn. He cu...
11/20/2019

Dave Walker begins making a decoy with a white pine or basswood 2 inch board onto which the head outline is drawn. He cuts the heads out with a bandsaw and works on finishing the head with a drawknife and spoke shave. His next step is to whittle the final features. The head is then belt-sanded and drilled making it ready to be joined to a body. Bodies are roughed out on a duplicating lathe, spoke shaved, breasted, tailed, and drum sanded prior to placement of the head. Painting is the final step as he applies the base colors, followed by featuring and other finishing touches.

Dave Walker was the 2010 Decoy & Wildlife Art Festival Honoray Chairman. Dave is also a life member of the Decoy Museum,...
11/19/2019

Dave Walker was the 2010 Decoy & Wildlife Art Festival Honoray Chairman. Dave is also a life member of the Decoy Museum, and has previously served on the museum's Board of Directors.

Our Featured Carver, Dave Walker, founded his shop in 1982 in Havre De Grace. He retired from his job at American Cyanam...
11/18/2019

Our Featured Carver, Dave Walker, founded his shop in 1982 in Havre De Grace. He retired from his job at American Cyanamid in 1989, and devoted his time to decoys, hunting, and fishing.

Dave Walker is not only a fine maker of decoys, but he is also an excellent machinist. He developed this skill into a bu...
11/15/2019

Dave Walker is not only a fine maker of decoys, but he is also an excellent machinist. He developed this skill into a business after he began making parts for various friends' decoy machines. He eventually constructed the ''Walk-A-Matic Decoy Duplicator" and has sold several to other decoy makers. Dave's good friend and fellow decoy maker Pat Vincenti purchased one of the first and is pleased to rely on the lathe "made by a decoy maker just for decoy makers."

Dave Walker specializes in full-size hunting decoys and swan. Some examples include: Blue Geese, Canada Geese, Snow Gees...
11/14/2019

Dave Walker specializes in full-size hunting decoys and swan. Some examples include: Blue Geese, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, Mallards, and Bald Pates. Many describe Dave as being able to capture the birds' essence in a unique way, even though he learned from many of the greats.

Dave Walker worked with many great carvers, and considered them his mentors. Charlie Joiner helped Dave transition from ...
11/13/2019

Dave Walker worked with many great carvers, and considered them his mentors. Charlie Joiner helped Dave transition from working decoys to decorative decoys. Dave learned a lot of secrets from Joiner, who learned them from the masters.

Have you purchased your Fall Raffle tickets yet?  The drawing is approximately one month away, so get them while you can...
11/12/2019

Have you purchased your Fall Raffle tickets yet? The drawing is approximately one month away, so get them while you can!

When Dave Walker guns, he enjoys shooting Teal. He likes them because they are so incredibly fast that they are hard to ...
11/12/2019

When Dave Walker guns, he enjoys shooting Teal. He likes them because they are so incredibly fast that they are hard to hit. One memorable trip gunning Teal was when he and three friends went down to Louisiana and sat in a boat in the reeds along with the alligators.

Our Featured Carver, Dave Walker, has a goal when he makes his birds. He wants them to be a "bird the can be placed on a...
11/11/2019

Our Featured Carver, Dave Walker, has a goal when he makes his birds. He wants them to be a "bird the can be placed on a shelf," bit also one "that a gunner can throw into the water and not scare the birds away."

All of Dave Walker's decoys are machine made. He uses the standard tools to carve including a spoke shave, draw knife, d...
11/08/2019

All of Dave Walker's decoys are machine made. He uses the standard tools to carve including a spoke shave, draw knife, drum sander, belt sander, and whittling knife. Dave's favorite duck to carve is the Northern Shoveler. He said his shoveler decoy just "comes together very easily".

In Easton for the Waterfowl Festival for the next few days.  Stop by and see us!
11/08/2019

In Easton for the Waterfowl Festival for the next few days. Stop by and see us!

Dave Walker has said his style of decoy making reflects the makers he has worked with in the past, Mitchell, Pierce, and...
11/07/2019

Dave Walker has said his style of decoy making reflects the makers he has worked with in the past, Mitchell, Pierce, and Jobes. Dave typically uses white pin, white cedar, and polonium to carve; and flat Rustoleum to paint.

After Dave Walker recieved Jimmy Pierce's Canvasback drake from his aunt, he starting working for Jimmy because he wante...
11/06/2019

After Dave Walker recieved Jimmy Pierce's Canvasback drake from his aunt, he starting working for Jimmy because he wanted a hen. Jimmy knew Dave was interested in decoy making, so he let Dave putty and sand. However, Dave never did get his hen!

Dave Walker was born in Havre de Grace, September 10, 1958. He first became interested in decoys when his aunt gave him ...
11/05/2019

Dave Walker was born in Havre de Grace, September 10, 1958. He first became interested in decoys when his aunt gave him a Jimmy Pierce drake canvasback.

Our next Featured Carver is Dave Walker. Check back here throughout the next couple of weeks to learn more about Dave an...
11/04/2019

Our next Featured Carver is Dave Walker. Check back here throughout the next couple of weeks to learn more about Dave and his carvings.

Even though Steve Lay has been mentored by many great carvers, he developed his own style through years of trial and err...
10/31/2019

Even though Steve Lay has been mentored by many great carvers, he developed his own style through years of trial and error. He makes 20 species of ducks, geese, and swans in miniatures, half size, and full size.

Unfortunately, this Sunday's trip has been cancelled.  Look for a re-scheduled date, which will be sometime in January 2...
10/30/2019

Unfortunately, this Sunday's trip has been cancelled. Look for a re-scheduled date, which will be sometime in January 2020.

A new program from the Decoy Museum - space is limited, so make your reservations soon! On November 3rd, we will be traveling to the following locations for the purpose of studying North American Waterfowl and our coastal wetlands as a critical habitat - Bombay Hook Nat'l Wildlife Refuge (Smyrna, DE), Port Mahon/Little Creek Wildlife Mgmt. Area (DE) and Furnace Bay (Northeast, MD). We will depart via minibus from the Museum at 5 a.m. and return to the Museum at approximately 5 p.m. Dress for the weather, bring binoculars and camera, and plan to hike and learn from our instructors John Hughes and Tom Trafton. A light breakfast will be provided; we will make a quick stop for lunch (on the participant). Minimum age: 12. Cost: $75/per person ($50 tax deductible). Rain date in case of severe weather: November 10. Pre-registration is required - call the Museum to do so.

Steve Lay's interest in decoys began in his home, where his father had a decoy lamp made by Madison Mitchell. Steve said...
10/29/2019

Steve Lay's interest in decoys began in his home, where his father had a decoy lamp made by Madison Mitchell. Steve said he would often touch the bird to reinsure himself ot was wooden and not real!

The majority  of Steve Lay's customers are decoy collectors and dealers. He does still have a few customers that gun ove...
10/28/2019

The majority of Steve Lay's customers are decoy collectors and dealers. He does still have a few customers that gun over his birds. He hasn't made any changes to his decoy making since he first started. Steve still does what Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Pierce taught him.

Steve Lay began hunting waterfowl on the Susquehanna Flats when he was about 15 years old. He enjoyed body booting, but ...
10/25/2019

Steve Lay began hunting waterfowl on the Susquehanna Flats when he was about 15 years old. He enjoyed body booting, but never bushwhacked. He also hunted geese on the Eastern Shore, but preferred hunting ducks on the Flats.

Mr. Mitchell taught Steve Lay how to make decoys, while Mr. Pierce showed Steve how to paint them. Steve uses cedar wood...
10/24/2019

Mr. Mitchell taught Steve Lay how to make decoys, while Mr. Pierce showed Steve how to paint them. Steve uses cedar wood and bass wood for his decoys. He uses oil based paints and Rustoleum to start with.

Steve Lay was fifteen when he began making decoys. His father worked for Madison Mitchell, and when Steve began having a...
10/23/2019

Steve Lay was fifteen when he began making decoys. His father worked for Madison Mitchell, and when Steve began having an interest in the outdoors, his father took him to Mitchell's shop too. He began working for Mr. Mitchell in the summers and after school. Steve also worked for Jim Pierce.

Havre de Grace Decoy Museum
10/23/2019

Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

A new program from the Decoy Museum - space is limited, so make your reservations soon! On November 3rd, we will be traveling to the following locations for the purpose of studying North American Waterfowl and our coastal wetlands as a critical habitat - Bombay Hook Nat'l Wildlife Refuge (Smyrna, DE), Port Mahon/Little Creek Wildlife Mgmt. Area (DE) and Furnace Bay (Northeast, MD). We will depart via minibus from the Museum at 5 a.m. and return to the Museum at approximately 5 p.m. Dress for the weather, bring binoculars and camera, and plan to hike and learn from our instructors John Hughes and Tom Trafton. A light breakfast will be provided; we will make a quick stop for lunch (on the participant). Minimum age: 12. Cost: $75/per person ($50 tax deductible). Rain date in case of severe weather: November 10. Pre-registration is required - call the Museum to do so.

Steve Lay worked in the funeral business for a few years. He then decided that if he could spend as much time working fo...
10/22/2019

Steve Lay worked in the funeral business for a few years. He then decided that if he could spend as much time working for himself as a Waterman, he could make as much money and be much happier.

Our latest Features Carver, Steve Lay, was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland on October 18, 1951. He attended Harford Com...
10/21/2019

Our latest Features Carver, Steve Lay, was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland on October 18, 1951. He attended Harford Community College for two years. Then finished his education at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

The Museum will be closed on Monday, 10/21 and Tuesday, 10/22 for carpet replacement.  Please forgive this interruption ...
10/20/2019

The Museum will be closed on Monday, 10/21 and Tuesday, 10/22 for carpet replacement. Please forgive this interruption in our service!!

Our next Featured Carver is Steven Lay. Steven's birthday also happens to be today!Follow us next week to learn more abo...
10/18/2019

Our next Featured Carver is Steven Lay. Steven's birthday also happens to be today!
Follow us next week to learn more about Steve's decoy carving.

The Decoy Museum is THRILLED to announce that our 2020 Decoy Festival Honorary Chairman is none other than Jeff Coats!  ...
10/17/2019

The Decoy Museum is THRILLED to announce that our 2020 Decoy Festival Honorary Chairman is none other than Jeff Coats! Mark your calendars for May 2 & 3 - it is sure to be a fantastic time! #2020DecoyFestival #decoymuseum #pitbosswaterfowl

www.pitbosswaterfowl.com

Member alert:  The combined Summer/Fall issue of the Canvasback is finally in the mail!  Not a member - join us to recei...
10/16/2019

Member alert: The combined Summer/Fall issue of the Canvasback is finally in the mail! Not a member - join us to receive this perk! https://decoymuseum.com/membership/

A new program from the Decoy Museum - space is limited, so make your reservations soon!  On November 3rd, we will be tra...
10/14/2019

A new program from the Decoy Museum - space is limited, so make your reservations soon! On November 3rd, we will be traveling to the following locations for the purpose of studying North American Waterfowl and our coastal wetlands as a critical habitat - Bombay Hook Nat'l Wildlife Refuge (Smyrna, DE), Port Mahon/Little Creek Wildlife Mgmt. Area (DE) and Furnace Bay (Northeast, MD). We will depart via minibus from the Museum at 5 a.m. and return to the Museum at approximately 5 p.m. Dress for the weather, bring binoculars and camera, and plan to hike and learn from our instructors John Hughes and Tom Trafton. A light breakfast will be provided; we will make a quick stop for lunch (on the participant). Minimum age: 12. Cost: $75/per person ($50 tax deductible). Rain date in case of severe weather: November 10. Pre-registration is required - call the Museum to do so.

Paul Gibson was the Honorary chairman for the 1983 Decoy Festival. Paul once said, "A fellow who makes decoys, when he l...
10/04/2019

Paul Gibson was the Honorary chairman for the 1983 Decoy Festival.
Paul once said, "A fellow who makes decoys, when he leaves the world, he isn't going to make any more. Can get most any price he wants then."

This weekend in the R. Madison Mitchell Shop - John Eichelberger!!! Stop by and visit with him Saturday, 10:30 a.m. unti...
10/03/2019

This weekend in the R. Madison Mitchell Shop - John Eichelberger!!! Stop by and visit with him Saturday, 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or on Sunday, 12 noon until 4 p.m.

Paul Gibson's classic style of carving has influenced other carvers such as Bryon Bodt. Paul's classic Havre de Grace st...
10/03/2019

Paul Gibson's classic style of carving has influenced other carvers such as Bryon Bodt. Paul's classic Havre de Grace style is now considered folk art, even though many of his birds were once used as working decoys.

On January 8, 1985 Paul Gibson was named a Harford County Living Treasure. Part of his nomination read, "Paul has made m...
10/02/2019

On January 8, 1985 Paul Gibson was named a Harford County Living Treasure. Part of his nomination read, "Paul has made major contributions to Harford County's finest folk art, the decoy...There are few today who can match Paul's knowledge and history of gunning on the Susquehanna Flats. He was associated with great names from this period of Harford County's history."

It has been said that our featured carver, Paul Gibson's, shop was a sight to behold. It was filled with shelves lined w...
10/01/2019

It has been said that our featured carver, Paul Gibson's, shop was a sight to behold. It was filled with shelves lined with ducks, swans, and geese decoys of the region. As well as, his vast collection of knives, chisels, gouges, brushes, saws, and patterns.

Paul Gibson taught a few people how to carve. One of the most notable ones being Jimmy Frey. Jimmy was introduced to Pau...
09/30/2019

Paul Gibson taught a few people how to carve. One of the most notable ones being Jimmy Frey. Jimmy was introduced to Paul in 1978 by his uncle Buddy. Mr. Gibson taught Jimmy by making him pick apart his own work. Jimmy eventually worked for Paul for five years before Paul passed away in 1985.

The Museum will delay opening until 1 p.m. today due to multiple event-related road closures.  Our apologies for the inc...
09/28/2019

The Museum will delay opening until 1 p.m. today due to multiple event-related road closures. Our apologies for the inconvenience!

In a newspaper article published in 1993, Paul Gibson was quoted saying that spoke shaving was "just like scaping a carr...
09/27/2019

In a newspaper article published in 1993, Paul Gibson was quoted saying that spoke shaving was "just like scaping a carrot". He used spoke shavers that were antiques from Sheffield, England that aren't made anymore. Paul had a buddy in Wilmington that would make new blades for him.

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215 Giles St
Havre De Grace, MD
21078

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