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Make way for (well-dressed) ducklings

Charles Krupa/ap/file

Many designers dream of dressing first ladies and Oscar nominees, but Scituate resident Lorraine Walsh was presented with a challenge worthy of “Project Runway”: design a garment for Mrs. Mallard and her flock of eight. And she did it. Starting Thursday, the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture in the Boston Public Garden will be wearing pint-size tartan jackets adorned with lace and gold ribbon — designed by Walsh — as part of the Museum of Fine Arts’s 75th anniversary celebration of Robert McCloskey’s iconic children’s book.

“Because it’s 75 years ago, it might be nice to put [the ducklings] in something that would be appropriate for the time frame,” Walsh said. “And also, given that it’s Christmastime, why not put them in tartan and velvet jackets?”


The MFA, which opened its “Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey” exhibit last week, had solicited ideas from museum staff and volunteers for ways in which artist Nancy Schön’s sculpted ducklings could help promote the exhibit. Walsh, a volunteer who taught fashion design at Quincy High School before retiring, offered her talents because she has “great fondness” for both the museum and McCloskey’s book.

“I got the fabric, went down to the Public Garden and measured the ducks, and made the patterns,” she said. “Then [I] went down with a mock-up of the jackets and did a fitting.”

The bronze beauties will officially be outfitted at the MFA’sa pre-Holiday Warm-Up Thursday, cohosted in the Public Garden with MAGIC 106.7.

Sonia Rao can be reached at sonia.rao@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @misssoniarao.