The Selch-Bakwin Fly Room is a place where science, art, and sport meet, allowing people to tie a fly and browse through a beautifully presented, exceptional display of historical flies while learning about the fascinating lives of the master tiers.
We had long wished for a way to exhibit a larger portion of the fly collection. Using a small portion of the museum’s gift shop (about 300 square feet), Deputy Director Yoshi Akiyama designed an innovative space. Two plexiglass walls delineate the boundaries of the new room; they are artfully decorated with definitions and illustrations from historic fly-tying manuals. The cabinets are inspired by the original Mary Orvis Marbury panels: the front and back of each of the doors are used to showcase these mini works of art. The open doors reveal more exhibit space inside.
The idea came to life with a facilities grant from the Vermont Arts Council matched by AMFF Trustee Nick Selch. Nick co-named the new fly room in honor of his uncles, Pete and Mike Bakwin, who introduced him to fly fishing in the 1970s and to the museum in 2009. Longtime museum friend/ rodmaker/woodworker Jim Becker built the cabinets. In October, the finished project received an award of excellence from the Vermont Historical Society.
The room features history’s greatest tiers, including the Dettes, the Darbees, Preston Jennings, Lee Wulff, Helen Shaw, Keith Fulsher, Megan Boyd, and Mary Orvis Marbury, to name but a few. A mere glance around the room offers inspiration. Conveniently located at the center of the new space is a beautiful tying table, which stands at the ready with vises and materials for any visitor to take a seat and practice this storied skill.