Through a series of intriguing exhibits, the Decoy Museum presents a comprehensive look at the history and artistry of decoy carving and usage on the Susquehanna Flats. The museum's four permanent displays provide visitors with an understanding of the marvelous variety of carving and hunting styles and techniques. Our temporary exhibits grant visitors an opportunity to focus on particular carvers' work or study finer aspects of the folk art. New temporary exhibits are installed every three to six months, so be sure to visit the museum often!


The museum’s main gallery exhibit “What is a Decoy?” tells the story of an American folk art tradition, recounts how talented men carve “floating sculpture”, and contains examples of working decoys from various flyway regions and why the public has come to appreciate what made Havre de Grace the “Decoy Capital of the World.” Click Here for Full Story

"Gunning the Flats" explores the history of waterfowling on the Susquehanna Flats, an area long noted for its bounty of waterfowl. By the nineteenth century, sportsmen from all over the world came to the Flats to pursue canvasback ducks, and many of Havre de Grace's citizens supported their families by hunting waterfowl and selling them to Baltimore and Philadelphia restaurants. This exhibit places decoys within their historical context by investigating the tools and techniques used by local hunters throughout the past two centuries for both market and sports hunting.

The Decoy Museum recognizes the extraordinary achievements of prominent carvers by naming an Honorary Chairman for each of two annual festivals. The museum's third permanent exhibition, "Honoring the Masters," presents these carvers' masterpieces. Occupying the entire second floor gallery, this exhibit displays a full range of the works of masters such as Steve and Lem Ward, Charlie Bryan, Bob Litzenberg, Paul Gibson, Evans McKinney, and others. "Honoring the Masters" allows visitors to analyze and compare the styles of the area's great carvers while enjoying the incredible vista of the Susquehanna Flats from the second floor gallery.

R. Madison Mitchell (1901-1993) is universally recognized as one of the masters of the Havre de Grace style of decoy carving. His simple yet elegant style dominated the decoy market for most of the second half of this century and continues to be reflected today in the works of the many carvers who trained with him. The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum is honored to exhibit Mr. Mitchell's original workshop exactly as it appeared during his lifetime. The Mitchell Decoy Shop located behind the museum is open by appointment only and during special events.  Please call museum for more information.


The Decoy Museum's collection consists of approximately 2700 objects. The majority of these objects are decoys, most of them wooden and dating from 1930 to 1990, and the work of over 300 regional decoy makers is represented. In addition to decoys, the museum owns decorative carvings, boats, guns, textiles, books, documents, and photographs. The museum is pleased to be able to display nearly three-quarters of its collection to the public via its exhibits The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum cannot provide information concerning decoy values or appraisals of any kind. Contact us for a list of professional appraisers.

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