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Best Museum: Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

You might think you know what to expect during a trip to the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, but chances are there’s more to it than you realize.

“Folks hear ‘decoy museum’ and think if they don’t have any interest in waterfowl hunting or decoys, they won’t find it interesting,” says Kerri Kneisley, executive director. “But they get in the door and realize it is so much more. There’s so much history.”

Decoys are more than “an old piece of wood,” Kneisley says, explaining that they are works of art and historical artifacts that tell the story of the Havre de Grace of a century ago.

“In the early 20th century, Havre de Grace became world-renowned for its waterfowl hunting, which led to the need for decoys,” says Kneisley. During that time, she says, the popular style of hunting required hundreds of decoys, so out of necessity, Havre de Grace became the “decoy capital of the world.”

In 1935, those hunting methods were outlawed, and the decoy business dried up. But the artifacts remain.

The Havre de Grace museum houses decoys fashioned after a variety of birds, including many shore birds. The collection also includes boats, firearms, tools and other items that tell the story of the Havre de Grace of yore.

The collection isn’t the museum’s only draw, either. “We’re on the banks of the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake,” says Kneisley. “There is nothing like the view from this place.” -- Kit Waskom Pollard | For Harford Magazine

215 Giles St., Havre de

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