One of the collection’s many masterpieces, held by local artist Rebecca Artson.
In what may amount to the greatest miscalculation in the non-profit’s history, sources confirmed Thursday that Battle Creek Regional History Museum curator Gloria Schaefer was severely overestimating her patrons’ enthusiasm for hand-painted woodcarvings of a common migratory duck called the mallard.
Schaefer, who has reportedly put all other collection and archives assignments on hold, stated that she searched “far and wide” to find wooden figures of other Michigan-native ducks, geese, and loons to complement the mallards on display.
Said Schaefer, “The mallard is the citycouncil ordained bird of Battle Creek, and with the donated collections I’ve tracked down in the greater Calhoun county, I anticipate quite a large influx of visitors to the museum.”
Schaefer confirmed that the security of the whittled, carved, and chipped birds is her “number one priority” as the opening of the new exhibit approaches.
“We’ve got all of our birds under lock and key, and we recently installed new 360 degree security cameras throughout the building in case any veteran hobbyists or budding collectors get any wise ideas,” said Schaefer. “I know the common eider and the whitewinged scoter in our collection are big pulls for visitors, and I just can’t run the risk that they go missing.”
She also stated that the new exhibit will give the museum a chance to reassess the role it plays in the Battle Creek community.
“If this is anything like the vintage quilt exhibit that went up in September, we’re going to need all hands on deck to properly serve our museum members and visitors. We have to totally revamp our field trip programming on biodiversity, and we’ll need a trained docent in the gallery at all times ready to answer questions about migratory patterns, mating habits, and artist technique.”
Museum director Sonya Gilmore is confident that in addition to attracting wood-carved waterfowl enthusiasts in the community, the exhibit will also spark a passion in the next generation of mallard lovers.
“We expect many school groups to come to our museum and enjoy the mallards. Children from all over Michigan will undoubtedly be begging their teachers to bring them to Battle Creek on a class trip. Knowing that the stakes are this high, we’re working day and night to avoid letting these children down.”
At press time, Schaefer was allocating the remainder of the museum’s marketing budget to commision billboard signs advertising the upcoming exhibit.