After a temporary delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new exhibition in the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Waterfowling building, Adze to Whittling Knife: Chesapeake Boatbuilders as Decoy Carvers, will open to the public on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.
Chesapeake Bay-area craftsmen produced boats—and decoys—that were regionally distinctive. Boatbuilding was often a full-time occupation, and decoy carving was more typically a sideline. A few boatbuilders used the same carpentry skills to produce both boats and decoys. From the prolific decoy carvers of the Susquehanna Flats at the northern end of the Bay, to carvers whose production was much more limited, some of the Chesapeake’s most shapely decoys came from the hands of carvers who made their principal living building watercraft for fishermen, hunters, or boaters.
“The stories go back more than a century about craftsmen who built boats and had a sideline in decoys as well,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “Adze to Whittling Knife allows us to explore the links between these trades, which are important aspects of the living traditions our guests encounter every day.”
Adze to Whittling Knife is generously supported by Judy &Henry Stansbury. Entry to the exhibition is free for CBMM members or with general admission.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum officially reopened to the public at the end of June, with everyone on campus required to follow the Town of St. Michaels ordinance and wear facial coverings inside buildings at all times and outdoors when within six feet of other guests. For membership contactless entry, please renew or purchase CBMM memberships online at cbmm.org/membership. Additional information on CBMM’s enhanced health and comfort measures and operational changes for reopening can be found at welcome.cbmm.org.
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