The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center has always been a community project. But the loss of a tireless fundraiser, Capt. Purcell Jones at age 93, leaves work yet to be done.
Eddie Bridges, executive director of N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation in Greensboro and a tireless fundraiser himself, saw the need and started devising a plan almost before he had left the visitation at the Carteret County museum before Jones’s funeral in late June.
“When you talk to Eddie, you just kind of listen,” museum executive director Karen Amspacher said with a laugh in describing how the conservationist’s idea took off as an endowment to help support the treasure house that displays hundreds of decoys and hunting and fishing artifacts and is a hunting heritage center that began with local decoy carvers.
On Sept. 12 in Lexington, about 272 miles west of the museum’s Harkers Island home, Bridges will team with longtime friend Bob Timberlake to support the Capt. Purcell and Helen Jones Endowment Fund. During the second annual Bob Timberlake Gallery Open House, they’ll begin selling a limited edition print called “Post Season Reunion.”
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Details still must be worked out with Amspacher and the museum, which opened in late 1999, but “money from the new print goes to the museum,” Bridges said, “and we’re dedicating the proceeds to the Purcell Jones endowment fund.”
The print is a companion to last year’s inaugural Sportsman’s Series release, “A Resting Place,” a scene depicting blind No. 6 at Camp Bryan Farms near Havelock, where Timberlake and Bridges, lifelong friends, have hunted for decades.
The artist gave the original “A Resting Place” to the conservationist as a gift, and Bridges suggested making prints to sell to benefit the foundation.
“When I first did the two paintings, I did not conceive they would be this popular or be a fundraiser,” Timberlake said, “but Eddie jumped all over the idea.”
Sales of the 2,500 limited edition prints have combined with contributor support to raise nearly $100,000 for the foundation’s Future Generations youth programs and habitat conservation, Bridges said.
That success inspired the second release, and it seemed natural to add the museum, building “a rainy day fund” by expanding on hundreds of thousands of dollars raised over the years by Purcell, an expert waterfowler and the longtime owner of Camp Morehead By the Sea.
Bridges has a lot of ideas for building the fund. For one, he envisions “former Morehead campers and museum supporters coming together for a ‘Post Season Reunion’ and bringing their wallets,” he said, mentioning the fund could reach $1 million “in time.”
In the meantime, the museum’s family of supporters remains hard at work as well.
On Sept. 11 during the Taste of Core Sound seafood and wild game dinner at Harkers Island, they will launch the Purcell Circle of 93 fundraising program. And the annual Core Sound Waterfowl Weekend will take place the first weekend in December.
“We’re about the past and taking care of it,” Amspacher said. “We’re not just a history museum. We’re about living culture – giving context to kids who still guide and grandfathers who go duck hunting every time the wind blows.”
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If you’re going …
Summer Taste of Core Sound Purcell Night
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 11
Where: Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, Harkers Island, Carteret County
What: Purcell’s Circle of 93 fundraising kickoff; Down East spread of seafood, wild game
Fee: $100-$125 couple
Information: 252-728-1500, www.coresound.org
Mail donations: CSWM&HC, PO Box 556, Harkers Island, NC 28531
Sportsman’s Open House
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 12
Where: Bob Timberlake Gallery, 1714 E. Center St. Ext., Lexington
What: artist Duane Raver, call making, taxidermy, soapmaking, decoy carving, woodworking, pottery, concealed carry instruction, Kerry Earnhardt appearance, music, vendors
Information: gallery 336-249-4288, www.bobtimberlake.com; N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation 336-375-4994, www.ncwhf.org
When: Dec. 4-6
Where: Core Sound Decoy Festival and Waterfowl Museum, 1785 Island Road, Harkers Island, Carteret County
What: decoy carving, boatbuilding, local seafood, music, storytelling, retriever demonstrations, kids activities; decoy live auction, 4 p.m Saturday; silent auction ends 4 p.m. Sunday
Information: 252-728-1500, www.coresound.org