Welcome to the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

It is so known through the length and breadth of its watershed.  The Bay.  There is no possible confusion with any other body of water, no need for more precise description.  It is, after all, the continent’s largest estuary.  Its waters are rich…  Its shorelines cradled our first settlements.  It is the Chesapeake.

William Warner
“Beautiful Swimmers”

Decoys have been a central element of Upper Bay tradition and culture for centuries, and the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum houses one of the finest collections of Chesapeake Bay decoys ever assembled.  Displays include 1,200 decoys and decorative carvings by masters such as R. Madison Mitchell, Bob McGaw, and the Ward Brothers.

Contemporary carvers use the same centuries-old skills that have been passed down from father to son and from master to apprentice for generations.  These simple, utilitarian representations of ducks and geese, carved from wood and hand painted, were made for one purpose -- to lure waterfowl within range of the hunter. But today, decoys lure people in addition to waterfowl. These timeless and utilitarian works of art can now be found floating in a hunter’s rig as well as adorning a collector’s mantelpiece.

The Decoy Museum was established in 1986 as a private, non-profit institution and strives to communicate the heritage of Upper Bay decoy making to a national audience and to preserve the historical and cultural legacy of waterfowling and decoy making on the Chesapeake Bay.  Our modern facility overlooks "The Flats" -- the twenty square miles of shallows where the Susquehanna River becomes the Chesapeake Bay -- a legendary hunting ground renowned for its bounty in waterfowl.  The Decoy Museum provides the perfect opportunity to appreciate this unique American folk art form in a stunning setting!

Visit the Decoy Museum and discover the art of decoy making and the waterfowling traditions that make Havre de Grace, Maryland the “Decoy Capital of the World!”


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