‘Ducklings’ Sculptor to Preside over 25th-birthday Celebration in Public Garden on Saturday

Sculptor Nancy Schön, a mother of four, hugging Mrs. Mallard, a mother of nine, in the Public Garden

The sculptor who brought Mrs. Mallard and her family of aquatic birds from Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” to life in the Public Garden will preside over a 25th-birthday celebration for the Boston landmark this Saturday.

“It’s unbelievable what an important part of Boston [the sculpture] has become, Nancy Schön said. “I can’t believe how popular it’s become with kids and how many adults like to sit on Mrs. Mallard. It just shows there’s a little kid in each of us forever.”

Schön, a West Newton resident and graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, installed the sculpture based on the classic children’s story in the Public Garden on Oct. 4, 1987. Four years later, First Lady Barbra Bush presented an identical set of Schön’s ducklings to Raisa Gorbachev as part of the START Treaty at Novodevichy Park in Moscow.

The Boston sculpture was honored with two previous birthday parties – a 10th anniversary celebration with the late McCloskey on hand, as well as a 20-year gala with Mayor Thomas. M. Menino in attendance.

Schön will honor the Ducklings’ 25th birthday with assistance from the Friends of the Public Garden – the non-profit that originally sponsored the sculpture. The celebration will feature music, magic, juggling, games, face painting and a reading of the story. Children will also be provided with crayons and construction paper to make personalized birthday cards for the Ducklings.

“We hope everybody will come,” Schön said. “We want everybody to have a really good time this day. With all the trouble in the world, we need some happiness, and this is a happy event.”

The 25th-anniversary celebration takes place at the Ducklings sculpture on the Public Garden on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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