The “Duck Dynasty” stars lives and careers are featured in a new interactive museum at the Duck Commander headquarters in West Monroe called Duck Commander The Tour.
Greg Hilburn/USA Today Network
“Duck Dynasty” fans can now follow the stars from patriarch Phil Robertson’s humble log cabin beginning to the super stardom of the beloved reality TV show in a new interactive museum at the family’s company headquarters in Louisiana.
“Duck Commander The Tour,” a 13-room, 15,000-square foot museum, features props from the show, video panels of the stars and a foggy cypress bottom that feels more like a Louisiana swamp than an air-conditioned museum.
“It’s been exciting even for the family to walk through because it takes our story from the beginning to today,” said Willie Robertson, chief executive of the family’s Duck Commander and Buck Commander companies.
“While we’re talking now I’m looking at things and remembering when we did them or what show a prop came from,” Robertson said. “When you’re in the heat of it you miss a lot of things.”
The tour was developed and staged by Maureen Daly and her sons. Daly’s previous work includes traveling costume exhibits, including one staged for Disney,
“We really wanted fans to be able to experience the total journey of the family from their beginnings to their stardom, which includes their (Christian) faith journey,” Daly said. “People become very engaged in the story as they move through the tour.
“It’s an amazing story of how a single duck call led to this enterprise and how it went viral. As I learned more about them I was surprised about how broad their brand has become. Sometimes even their fans are surprised by the depth of their story.”
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Louisiana’s chief tourism officer, said he plans to take the tour this week. The museum opened July 1.
“I’m excited to see it because we were all just talking about the need for a permanent attraction in northern Louisiana,” Nungesser said. “I’m looking forward to promoting it here within the state and in our marketing campaigns outside the state.”
Visitors are greeted by a large Duck Commander The Tour mural created by Andrea Ehrhardt, the artist famous for her murals at the Bass Pro Shops.
Inside, Willie’s duck print-covered BMW looks ready to hit the road.
From there fans enter the museum itself, beginning with Phil’s log cabin in Vivian, Louisiana, for a chronological tour of the family’s story.
Along the way fans even get to make a duck call in one of exhibit rooms.
Doug Rorech, the museum director and Daly’s son, said “Duck Dynasty” fans have a deep connection with the Robertsons even though most have never met them.
“Fans drop off gifts for them and ask if we can get them to the family,” Rorech said. “It’s really incredible.”
Those who were lucky enough to be surprised when Willie joined them on the tour illustrated Rorech’s point.
They flocked to Willie for photos and selfies, many emphasizing their appreciation for the Robertsons’ open portrayal of their Christian faith in the TV shows and other avenues.
Eric Gustafson, who was visiting the Duck Commander tour from Texas with his wife Chelsey and their two sons Parker and Preston, just wanted to shake Willie’s hand.
“I love what you’ve done and what you stand for,” Gustafson said.
“People come here as families,” Willie said. “That’s one of the things we emphasized from the start; we always wanted a show the whole family could watch.”
The Christian theme continues throughout the exhibit rooms, including a video of the family gathered at the dinner table and offering a prayer of thanks.
It was a standard on the TV show that Daly wanted to continue on the tour.
“This is what drew me to the project; their faith and their ability to convey it,” Daly said.
“Duck Dynasty” lives on in reruns on the Outdoor Channel, while new episodes of hunting shows hosted by Phil and Willie also air.
Willie said fans often ask him whether there will ever be a “Duck Dynasty” reunion.
“It’s not in he works now, but you never know,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule it out.”
If you go
Duck Commander The Tour is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays at the Duck Commander headquarters at 117 Kings Lane in West Monroe. Cost is $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for children ages 6-12. Children younger than 6 are admitted free and there are various discounts offered.
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