Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City is to open a new exhibit and offer a weekend of programing to celebrate decoys and their carvers in early November.
The wooden decoys to be featured in the exhibit, “Working Birds: Decoys and Their Carvers,” which opens Nov. 3, were are made by carvers from Back Bay in southeastern Virginia to Ocracoke in Dare County.
A special feature is to include a ruddy duck carved in 1902 by Alvery “Alvirah” Wright born 1872 and died 1951. Of Old Trap, a rural community in Camden County, Wright was a fourth-generation boatbuilder and decoy carver.
“Waterfowl has been an important food source for many centuries. The abundant flocks of migratory birds to the Atlantic coast gave rise to an industry called market hunting. In the late 1800s, restrictions that limited the hunting and shooting of these birds were nearly nonexistent,” according to the museum. “By the early 1900s, local craftsmen were carving shorebird, duck, and goose decoys as a method of hunting waterfowl, with hunt clubs and hunting lodges as major clients. ‘Working bird’ decoy usage fell as stricter hunting laws were eventually passed.”
The exhibit kicks off with a program at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3. Guest speaker Kroghie Andresen, author of “Gunnin’Birds,” will discuss decoy collecting for all ages and introduce Sid Daughtridge, the donor of many of the decoys in the exhibit.
Carolina Decoy Collectors Association members will be available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, to evaluate decoys at the conclusion of the program, answering questions about the presented decoys. Visitors are welcome to bring in their own decoys for an educational show and tell, especially Alvirah Wright decoys.
The museum will offer hands-on activities 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, about decoys, demonstration of decoy carving and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education will be on hand.
Museum of the Albemarle hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday and is located at 501 S. Water St., in Elizabeth City. The website is www.museumofthealbemarle.com.
The museum, which serves Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington counties, is the northeast regional history museum of the North Carolina Division of State History Museums.
The division is within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future.