New waterfowling exhibition to open at CBMM in April

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 Saturday, April 18, 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. “This exhibition 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 sponsored by Judy and Henry Stansbury, Gourmet By The Bay, and the world’s leading decoy auction firm, Guyette & Deeter. Entry to the exhibition is free for CBMM members or with general admission. The exhibition will travel to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md., on Nov. 13–15 and return to CBMM’s Waterfowling Building through March 7, 2021. 

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay region, and making this resource available to all. Every aspect of fulfilling this mission is driven by CBMM’s values of relevance, authenticity, and stewardship, along with a commitment to providing engaging guest experiences and transformative educational programming, all while serving as a vital community partner. For more information, visit or call 410-745-2916.

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