Museum Monday: Duck decoys at SFO Airport

Duck decoys, a hunting tool designed to lure wild birds into the open, are the subject of the latest exhibition at San Francisco International Airport.

According to the SFO Museum:

From coast-to-coast, various regions of North America developed distinctive types of decoys. Bodies of water, hunting methods, and predominant species differed in each area. Materials, styles of carving, and painting techniques also varied locally. Salty, rough waters typically required sturdy, solid-bodied decoys that required frequent repainting. Freshwater decoys, on the other hand, allowed for hollow bodies and detailed paint patterns, which lasted through many seasons. Master craftsmen developed local styles that were emulated by and passed onto generations of carvers. Artisans also brought their own individual creativity to the birds they crafted, making each one unique.

Today, decoys are not only functional, many carved decoys are prized pieces of folk art.

More than 70 examples of work by the best decoy craftsmen are on display in The Allure of the Decoy,  located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall at San Francisco International Airport from April 29 through November 6, 2011.

Can’t make it to San Francisco International Airport before then? The SFO Museum has put a slide show featuring 24 of the decoys online.

(Photos courtesy SFO Museum)


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One thought on “Museum Monday: Duck decoys at SFO Airport

  1. Joe McCray says:

    From Harriet: Well, you can tell I’m not a hunter. Thanks Joe for pointing out proper decoy terminology...

    Decoys are not intended to ‘lure ducks into the open”. They’re intended to persuade ducks in flight to come in and land, maybe take a look near enough for the hunter to get a reasonable shot. Remember that even the modern shot gun in the hands of a young hunter with no concern about his shoulder will only get 60-70yards of accurate killing thrust.

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