Art DuckO exhibit celebrates North Carolina waterfowl

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Traditions of duck hunting and decoy making are brought to life at the Museum of the Albemarle in a new exhibit entitled, “Art DuckO: Waterfowl Culture in North Carolina.” This exhibit opened in the museum’s new gallery space. More than 100 decoys by noted carvers, unique feathered fashions, and several exciting, interactive activities are featured in this fun and free exhibit.
“Ducks and waterfowl have influenced much of North Carolina’s history,” says Sandy Webbere, exhibit curator, adding, “‘Art Ducko’ explores how they have affected the state’s economy, carving traditions, hunting practices, art, and conservation efforts.”

The carving and hunting traditions still are important to area residents. “The ones who hunt, their sons want to hunt,” explains Currituck sportsman Wilson Snowden. The decoy carving tradition presented in “Art DuckO” also highlights family legacies. They come from areas such as Back Bay, Va., as well as Knotts Island, Currituck and Dare County sounds, and beaches. The waterfowl history of the state is rich; North Carolina was known in the late 1800s as the “Waterfowl Capital of the World.”

The seemingly ordinary items displayed in “Art DuckO” again demonstrate the intersection of utility and art. 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. Toy ducks also became popular with children. On display will be an original 1890 Mother Goose pencil box, a 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 N.C. 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 N.C. Culture” and podcasts 24/7 with information about the Department of Cultural Resources at www.ncculture.com.

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