About Us

The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art is nestled next to Schumaker Pond in Salisbury, MD. 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 was instrumental in the transition of the decoy from a working tool to an expressive wildfowl sculpture.

Two white hand carved swansWith members in all 50 states and 8 countries, the reach of this institution reflects the wide appeal of and interest in an art form that highlights the interconnections of art, nature, and tradition. As wildfowl have 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 expression.

With its 4.5 acre waterfront facility with 12,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Ward Museum is a major destination for tourists and a resource for local residents who enjoy its year-round offerings. With a staff of 20+ 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 more than 20,000 school children annually.

Wooden carving of Two white swans For nearly 50 years the Ward World Championship has gathered hundreds of artists from around the globe 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, MD whose talents were unmistakable. When one experiences the Ward Museum, they are 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.

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The Ward Museum wishes to acknowledge that the museum is on, and conducts its programming in, the traditional homelands of the Accohannock Indian Tribe, Assateague People of Delmarva, Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, Nanticoke Indian Tribe, Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, and Pocomoke Indian Nation. We seek to work more closely with the indigenous peoples of what is today known as Delmarva, in order to support the conservation of this place and its rich cultural heritage. We invite you to learn more about the indigenous history and living heritage of what is today the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia, and Delaware, by clicking on the links above.