Tag Archives: decoys

CBMM_KentCarvers_CopyrightBodine

Kent’s Carvers and Clubs opens at CBMM April 14

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Photo by A. Aubrey Bodine. Copyright Jennifer B. Bodine

CBMM_KentCarvers_HollyGrove1_Trumpington(ST MICHAELS, MD – January 30, 2018) Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new waterfowling exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md.

The exhibition shares the stories of Maryland’s Kent County carvers and hunting clubs through a collection of decoys, oral histories, historic photographs, and other artifacts.

In the Rock Hall area of Kent County, virtually every young man grew up learning to hunt waterfowl in the early 1900s. That intimate knowledge of birds, their habits and their habitat translated into a marketable skill as gunning became the pastime of the wealthy. Rich photo documentation from the 1930s and 40s illustrate the camaraderie of the well-to-do business and professional men who flocked to Kent’s gunning shores to spend icy mornings in booby blinds, awaiting the arrival of ducks and geese and warm evenings by the club woodstove, where they feasted on local delicacies.

Oral history excerpts reveal the stories of hardworking guides, who found vital supplemental seasonal income. Captain John Glenn fashioned hand-chopped decoys from his Piney Neck home, “Decoy Farm,” and began to work with other local carvers to supply a wide variety of stool. While the “Rock Hall School of Carvers” was likely influenced by the work of Susquehanna Flats decoy makers, Kent carver Charlie Joiner learned directly from legendary Havre de Grace carver R. Madison Mitchell, and befriended the Ward brothers of Crisfield, developing his own distinct and notable style.

“Kent County’s bountiful waterfowl population and picturesque shorelines drew gentlemen hunters from the cities to organized gunning clubs, especially along the shores near Rock Hall and Eastern Neck,” said CBMM Collections Manager Jenifer Dolde, curator of the exhibition. “Knowledgeable local men served as guides, savvy property owners leased their land for clubs, and skillful Kent carvers created co-ops to craft decoys for the rigs of neighbors and club members.”

“Kent County has an enduring waterfowling culture—one that continues to flourish in the fields, necks and islands of the deeply-rural region,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “We’re grateful for the support of this exhibition to be able to explore this important part of Chesapeake history with our guests.”

GuyetteDeeterWEBONLYKent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops  is generously sponsored by Judy and Henry Stansbury, and the world’s leading decoy auction firm, Guyette & Deeter. Entry to the exhibition is free for CBMM members or with general admission. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs will travel to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md. November 9-11, 2018, and return to CBMM’s Waterfowling Building through March 31, 2019.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving more than 70,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and numerous indoor and outdoor spaces, situated in a park-like, waterfront setting along the Miles River and St Michaels harbor. Charitable gifts to CBMM’s annual fund help support the non-profit’s exhibition, education, and restoration programs, with online giving and more information at cbmm.org/donate.

From now through October, 2018, CBMM’s guests can experience the log-hull restoration of the 1889 bugeye, Edna E. Lockwood, with more information at ednalockwood.org.

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PHOTOS:

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Two duck hunters take aim from a “booby” blind on the lower Chester River, c. 1950. Photo by A. Aubrey Bodine © Jennifer B. Bodine, courtesy of aaubreybodine.com. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition continues through March 31, 2019, with more at cbmm.org.    

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A member relaxes after the day’s shoot in thee Holly Grove gunning club room, on Kent County’s Eastern Neck, c. 1940. Courtesy of the Trumpington Collection. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition continues through March 31, 2019, with more at cbmm.org.

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Gunners wade into shore as their guide prepares to pull in the decoy rig from the waters near the Holly Grove gunning club, on Kent County’s Eastern Neck, c. 1940. Courtesy of the Trumpington Collection. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition continues through March 31, 2019, with more at cbmm.org.

Two boys ca. 1910 with swan hunted in the Easton, MD area, from the collection of C. John Sullivan. Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation explores the interwoven story of swans and people on the Chesapeake Bay through a selection of swan decoys, photos, artifacts, and ephemera from the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition opens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD on Saturday, April 11, 2015 and continues through April 3, 2016. Photo courtesy C. John Sullivan.

Chesapeake Swan Song exhibition opens April 11 at CBMM

(ST MICHAELS, MD – January 26, 2015)

Chesapeake Swan Song exhibition opens April 11 at CBMM

Two boys ca. 1910 with swan hunted in the Easton, MD area, from the collection of C. John Sullivan. Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation explores the interwoven story of swans and people on the Chesapeake Bay through a selection of swan decoys, photos, artifacts, and ephemera from the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition opens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD on Saturday, April 11, 2015 and continues through April 3, 2016. Photo courtesy C. John Sullivan.

 

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, the story of the evolving relationship between the people and swans of the Chesapeake Bay will be told through a curated collection of decoys, photographs, and artifacts. Decoys like the Barnes/Holly example above will be joined by other examples from around the bay in a new exhibition, Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation, which continues through April 3, 2016 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD.

Click either image to download a high resolution file

The story of the evolving relationship between the people and swans of the Chesapeake Bay will be told through a curated collection of decoys, photographs, and artifacts in a new exhibition at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation will open Saturday, April 1, 2015 and continue through April 3, 2016. Entry is free for CBMM members or with general museum admission.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Guyette & Deeter—the world’s leading decoy auction firm—Judy and Henry Stansbury, and Gourmet by the Bay in St. Michaels, MD.

Over the last 150 years, the population and perception of swans has dramatically changed within the Chesapeake region. These magnificent waterfowl—today valued for their aesthetic beauty and rarity—were once part of the bay’s commercial harvest.

Hunted for sport, food, and feathers, the Chesapeake’s plummeting swan population was protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Since then, the bay’s swans have become treasured ornaments, inspiring artists, bird watchers, and photographers. They have also become a source of controversy, provoking bitter debate in the early 21st century as the State of Maryland sought to control the proliferating population of invasive mute swans.

For thousands of years, two native swan species—tundra and trumpeter—have migrated from the Arctic to the protected coves of the Chesapeake Bay. Flying south in white wedges, their arrival signified sustenance for the bay’s native tribes and later, for the colonists who scratched out a living along the bay’s tributaries. In the 19th century, equipped with accurate, inexpensive firearms, hunters harvested more swans than ever before, shipping birds to Baltimore for fancy suppers. The snowy white feathers were in high demand in New York and London, where they were used to decorate women’s hats and made into powder puffs and foamy slippers. To entice the birds within range, carvers throughout the Chesapeake crafted huge swan decoys, from crude to elaborate, that mimicked swans feeding, swimming, and preening.

Swans, huge and elegant, have come to represent our evolving ideas regarding the Chesapeake environment. From a source of sustenance to a driver of mass harvest, a creature of conservation to a provocative invasive, swans convey the changing story of the Chesapeake’s hunting culture.

Chesapeake Swan Song explores this interwoven story of swans and people on the Chesapeake Bay through a selection of swan decoys, artifacts, and ephemera from the 19th and 20th centuries.

For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.

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PHOTOS
“CBMM_ChesapeakeSwanSong_BarnesHollySwan_April11.jpg”
On Saturday, April 11, 2015, the story of the evolving relationship between the people and swans of the Chesapeake Bay will be told through a curated collection of decoys, photographs, and artifacts. Decoys like the Barnes/Holly example above will be joined by other examples from around the bay in a new exhibition, Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation, which continues through April 3, 2016 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org.

“CBMM_ChesapeakeSwanSong_SwanHunting_PhotoCourtesy_CJohnSullivan.jpg”
Two boys ca. 1910 with swan hunted in the Easton, MD area, from the collection of C. John Sullivan. Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation explores the interwoven story of swans and people on the Chesapeake Bay through a selection of swan decoys, photos, artifacts, and ephemera from the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition opens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD on Saturday, April 11, 2015 and continues through April 3, 2016. Photo courtesy C. John Sullivan.