Note: Dorset House, where the Museum’s decoy collection is exhibited, is closed for the season while Conservation and Curatorial staff evaluate the gallery and decoy installations.
Shelburne Museum’s collection of 900 wildfowl decoys, most of which is on exhibition, is the finest, most comprehensive in the country. It includes examples by prominent carvers Anthony Elmer Crowell, Shang Wheeler, Gus Wilson, Bill Bowman, Joseph Lincoln, Lee Dudley, George Warin, and John Blair. Decoys from Maine, Long Island, Chesapeake Bay, Illinois, Quebec, and other regions are exhibited.
The collection was formed with a 1952 gift of more than 400 superior examples from Joel Barber, a New York City architect, artist, and carver who in his seminal book Wild Fowl Decoys (1934) was the first to identify the importance of decoys as a uniquely American art form.
The Museum also boasts a small but fine collection of fish decoys from the Upper Midwest, made by Oscar Paterson, Art Rep, Manfred Caughell, and others.
Wildfowl and fish decoys are exhibited in Dorset House.