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Ward Wildfowl Museum

Salisbury, Maryland
Museum History

Established in 1968, the Ward Foundation has been dedicated to promoting wildfowl art and preserving the legacy of Eastern Shore decoy carvers, Lem and Steve Ward.

For the first several years, this was done primarily through advocacy, special exhibitions, and publications. These events include the Wildfowl Carving and Art Exhibit, held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, and the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition, originally held in Salisbury but moved in 1979 to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, where it is still held today.

In 1975 the Ward Foundation established the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. Until 1991 the Ward Museum was housed in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall on the campus of Salisbury University. From the beginning of the creation of the Ward Museum, there has been a partnership between Salisbury University and the Ward Foundation.

Expanding over the next decade and a half, the museum eventually outgrew its housing on campus. By the late 1980s, there was talk of a new facility. Plans were drawn up, and in 1992 the Ward Museum opened at Schumaker Pond where it remains today.

In 2000 the Ward Foundation donated the Ward Museum facility and its collections to Salisbury University. At the same time, the Ward Foundation became an affiliated foundation of Salisbury University.

Since then, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art has thrived. The Ward Foundation has the responsibility of operating the Ward Museum, ensuring that its educational mission is advanced, and that it remains viable and vibrant to the audiences it serves.

1895 - Stephen Ward born in Crisfield, MD
1897 - Lemuel Ward born in Crisfield, MD
1926 - L.T. Ward & Bros partnership formed by Lem and Steve in Crisfield, MD
1968 - Bird carving established as Maryland’s Official Pasttime
1968 - Ward Foundation established in Salisbury, MD
1968 - Inaugural Atlantic Flyway Waterfowl and Bird Carving Exhibit held in Salisbury, MD
1971 - Inaugural World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition held in Salisbury, MD
1972 - Lem & Steve receive honorary degrees from Salisbury State College
1975 - Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art opens in the Great Hall, Salisbury State College
1976 - Steve Ward dies
1978 - World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition moves to Ocean City, MD
1983 - Lem receives National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment of Arts, Washington DC
1984 - Lem Ward dies
1989 - Chesapeake Vision campaign begins for new museum facility
1992 - Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art opens at Schumaker Pond in Salisbury, MD
1998 - Inaugural Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo held at the Ward Museum
2000 - Ward Foundation becomes an affiliated foundation of Salisbury University
2008 - 40th anniversary of Ward Foundation celebrated at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University


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Contact Person Laura Bottinelli
Address 909 South Schumaker Dr., Salisbury, 21804
Is your facility handicapped accessible Yes
Is kosher catering available No
Is outside kosher catering permitted? Yes
Is the facility indoor only, outdoor only, or both? Indoor Only
Does your facility have guest rooms No
Does your facility have air conditioning Yes
Maximum capacity with dancing 1180
Maximum capacity without dancing 1130