Shelburne Museum Grant

Shelburne Museum Grant

The best collection of artistic wildfowl decoys, in the United States are located at a local museum and they are finally getting an updated home.
SHELBURNE, Vt. -The best collection of artistic wildfowl decoys, in the United States are located at a local museum and they are finally getting an updated home.

The 1832 Dorset House, at the Shelburne Museum, is home to wildfowl decoys and other decoys, and finally will be upgraded after waiting 50 years.

The museum has 40 houses on 40 acres and holds many different artifacts ranging from quilts to carriages. Keeping all the historical pieces in pristine condition is a top priority for the museum.

Now, after receiving the largest grant for a project in Vermont, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the museum is able to improve the Dorset House. This $350,000 will keep the wildfowl decoys in a much better condition.

The decoys are wooden animals used in hunting to attract real animals. This type of hunting is still used today, but the decoys at the Shelburne Museum date as far back as the late 1800’s. Updating the decoys’ home is crucial to maintaining the artifacts conditions.  

"Over the years you have different environmental changes. They can swell, the wood can swell and crack if it's not controlled; and paint can flake off and that sort of thing, off the decoys. So now the system we will put in will maintain a relatively steady humidity and temperature," said Richard Kerschner.

Kerschner, the museum’s Director of Conservation, included that the Dorset House will also get upgraded fire systems and safety systems to prevent theft. Currently, the Shelburne Museum has most of the decoys in a safe storage space but some can still be viewed at the Stagecoach Inn, which is located right next to the Dorset House.

The Dorset House expects to reopen with the new improvements in 2016.

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