The Center for American Decoys

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The wooden decoy, a truly American innovation, is symbolic of the American experience and humanity’s constantly evolving relationship with nature, particularly American waterfowl. Today, decoys are a recognized and appreciated form of folk art, sought out by collectors and museums across the world.

The Center for American Decoys is dedicated to preserving the traditions of American waterfowl history through the art of the decoy. Located in the Illinois River Valley, among some of the greatest waterfowl hunting habitats in history, the Center for American Decoys aims to showcase many of the most notable decoy carvers from across the country, with a particular emphasis on carvers from the Illinois River Valley.

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From the moment Peoria Riverfront Museum’s American Decoys: The Invention opened, scholars and collectors declared the display of more than 200 all-star birds to be the greatest decoy exhibition ever assembled under one roof. It was the first museum exhibition of its kind to showcase world-class decoys from a number of the most respected collections and institutions from across the country.

Today, we are proud to present Masterworks of the Illinois River: The Collection of Thomas K. Figge. This current exhibition includes many of the greatest examples of Illinois River decoys in existence and it also includes six beautiful hanging game scenes from modern master Cameron McIntyre.

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In their beginning, decoys were viewed strictly as a hunting tool. Then decoys began to be displayed and appreciated as an art form. Today, decoys are helping museums like ours tell inspiring stories teaching new generations the culture of self-reliance, creative competition and American freedom in which they were conceived.

Connect with Us

We invite you to connect with us and decoy enthusiasts from around the world in celebrating this distinctly American art form. Like us on Facebook  and Instagram or sign up below for our regular newsletter from Zac Zetterberg, curator of art and the Center for American Decoys. The newsletter is absolutely free and contains insightful information on our work here at the Center for American Decoys as well as all things waterfowl and folk art related.

See an example essay HERE

The Peoria Riverfront Museum gratefully acknowledges the major support of Bon and Holly French and the Taylor French Decoy Fund for the Center for American Decoys.

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Receive updates from curator Zac Zetterberg regarding the Center for American Decoys and all things waterfowl and folk art related.

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