Thursday, August 21, marks what would have been renowned bird carver Wendell Gilley’s 110th birthday. To commemorate the occasion, the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor is offering a day of free admission to the public. Hours will be 10 AM – 5 PM, with last new entry to the galleries at 4:30 PM. Throughout the day visitors are invited to enjoy the exhibits of bird carvings created by the master carver during a career that spanned 1931-1983. From diminutive ducks to awesome owls, the Museum’s collection includes bird carvings that fly, swim, preen, and otherwise embody their living counterparts. The current selection on display includes unusual works such as a Great Hornbill and Barrow’s Goldeneye, as well as new acquisitions of more familiar species like a Black-capped Chickadee and a pair of Mallard Ducks.
The award-winning documentary film by Richard Adams, Gilley: Portrait of a Bird Carver, will be shown throughout the day and visitors are welcome to tour the Gilley carving workshop with Museum Executive Director and Curator, Nina Gormley, who will highlight Mr. Gilley’s ingenious tools and pioneering techniques in decorative bird carvings.
Visitors are also welcome to enjoy Sixteen Sails, A mostly true tale from 1908 Maine, a recent gift to the Museum’s library, given by the author, Barbara Barry Smith, who shares a great-grandfather with Wendell Gilley. A work of historical fiction, the delightful book includes a photograph of the carver as a young boy, circa 1910, with his great-grandfather, mother, and an aunt.
Regular non-member admission rates to the Gilley are still only $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children 5-12, but all fees will be waived on August 21st. The Museum is open every day except Monday, through October 31st. For current hours and information about upcoming programs, please call 207-244-7555, or visit www.wendellgilleymuseum.org or www.facebook.com/thegilley.