Decoys at the Seaport

My name is Rebecca Garman and I am currently an intern here at the Tuckerton Seaport. I’m a senior at William Paterson University, majoring in Anthropology with minors in Psychology and Health Studies, ready to graduate this upcoming May. Although an internship is not mandatory for Anthropology majors at William Paterson, I am fascinated in learning about the daily operations of running a museum whether large or small. After being a Tuckerton resident for almost my entire life, I am just now learning all of the rich history that Tuckerton has to offer to both current residents and visitors alike.

Before I began my internship here at the Seaport, I knew very little about the history of not only Tuckerton, but the areas surrounding it as well. It seems crazy after living here for almost my entire life to not know anything about my town; however, in our society today we are all guilty of being engulfed in media and technology. Because of the role that technology now plays in our lives, many of us fail to go out and explore the area around us.


Many people come to the Seaport not only to visit the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse, but the other exhibits as well, including decoys on display in “open storage” in the Hunting Shanty. Since starting my internship here in September, I have had the opportunity to create a new exhibit about decoys in the Hunting Shanty. Because I knew very little about decoys starting this exhibit, the whole process of putting it together was an incredible learning experience that I would not get sitting in a lecture. I worked with Seaport staff and board members, and members of the New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association, to gain the background information to put together the display, and read books about writing exhibition labels to help me craft labels that are interesting and informative. This exhibit is fun for both children and adults, and is an introduction to decoys that provides you not only with some basic knowledge about decoys, but with some fun facts about them that you may not know as well.

Unlike exhibits that you visit elsewhere, these decoys are not behind glass, so it gives you the chance to interact with the objects while you explore what decoys are made out of, their uses, and the tools used to make them. The labels are color-coded and explore topics such as decoy construction, use and materials. In addition to being able to interact with the decoys, with each decoy there is also a question pertaining to it along with the answer, such as “What is the difference between a Barnegat Bay decoy and a Delaware River decoy?” Along with learning about decoys here in New Jersey, you will have the opportunity to learn about the different materials decoys are made out of, how they are made, as well as their numerous uses. I hope you will come visit the Hunting Shanty to see this new display, and learn a little more about this folk art that is so important to our region!