About the Museum
The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art is nestled next to Schumaker Pond in Salisbury, Maryland. Surrounded by wildlife in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway, the Museum features the world's largest and finest public collection of decorative and antique decoys. The Museum was named in honor of Stephen and Lemuel Ward, whose vision and artistry in carving decoys pioneered the transition of the decoy from a working tool to an expressive wildfowl sculpture.
The Ward Museum is a cherished part of its local community on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and far beyond. Maintaining an international reputation for excellence through artworks that allow visitors a glimpse of the beauty of wildfowl from around the world has made the Ward Museum a prominent Maryland institution.
With members in all 50 states and 8 countries, the reach of this institution reflects the wide appeal and interest in an art form that reveals the interconnections of art, nature, and tradition. As wildfowl has been celebrated in art across continents and throughout human history, the museum collection showcases the contributions of artists who have carved birds both as tools for the hunt and as objects of artistic enjoyment.
With its 4.5 acre waterfront facility with 12,000 square feet of exhibition space, the museum is a major destination for tourists and a resource for local residents who enjoy its year-round offerings. With a staff of 17 professionals and a volunteer pool of over 200, the Ward Museum is a significant part of the local economy, community fabric, and the regional arts scene. Through educational programs and services, the museum serves 10,000 school children annually.
For nearly 40 years the Ward World Championship has gathered over 1,000 artists from around the globe in Ocean City, Maryland, for the largest bird carving competition in the world. Carvers from the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom make their annual pilgrimage to compete for a chance to win the coveted World Champion title, participate in the educational conference that enriches their talent, and immerse themselves in a celebration of wildfowl art.
The impact of this institution has grown dramatically from its origins as a grassroots effort to celebrate two exceptional bird carvers from Crisfield, Maryland whose talents were unmistakable. When one hears about the Ward Museum, he or she is part of an enduring celebration of the artistic, natural, and cultural legacy of these artists and the thousands of others who have captivated the world. You are invited to become a part of this story and discover why the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, is world renowned.