On January 17, 2020 we opened a new temporary exhibit in the Ward Museum’s LaMay Gallery: “50 Years of Excellence: Sculptures from the Ward World Championship.” This exhibit features some of the best “Best in World” winning pieces from five decades of the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival. Held each year for the past 49 years, “Worlds” has seen competitors from 15 countries and all 50 states. Many of these individuals compete in the World Class divisions, which are an opportunity for Advanced Level carvers to compete for the title of “World Champion” in the Decorative Lifesize Wildfowl, Decorative Lifesize Waterfowl Pair, Decorative Miniature Wildfowl, Interpretive Wood Sculpture, and Shootin’ Rig divisions. 2020 was to be our 50th annual competition. Unfortunately like many others, we needed to cancel our major event this year. But! This just means we will be back bigger and better for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2021. So while we’re closed, and we and our friends are missing Worlds, we hope you’ll enjoy the amazing art work in “50 Years of Excellence,” and get inspired and excited for what’s to come.
Ward Brothers Workshop Gallery Tour
Part 1: In this introductory video, Ward Foundation Chairman and wildfowl artist Rich Smoker provides some insight into who the Ward Brothers were. You’ll learn about where they grew up, how Crisfield, MD influenced who they became, and why these country barbers grew into two of the names most synonymous with decoy making and wildfowl art.
Part 2: Welcome back to the Ward Brothers Workshop Gallery. In this second installation Rich Smoker is back to walk us through Ward brothers decoys–from sturdy hunting stools to delicate decorative decoys, many made close to a century ago. Learn about the evolution of Ward decoy making, and take a trip through time.
Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. Decoy Study Gallery Tour
Part 1: This is the first in a series of tours of the Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. Decoy Study Gallery. This fixture of the Ward Museum showcases antique and vintage decoys alongside maps of decoy making hotspots along the North American flyways (superhighways for migrating birds). Between the displays and the library in the gallery, the space illustrate to tell the story of how decoys developed across the U.S. and Canada, showing a wide range of materials, media, and styles. Part one of the tour features Ward Foundation Chairman Rich Smoker highlighting decoys from the Central and Mississippi Flyways – including Texas and Louisiana on up to the Great Lakes region. We hope you enjoy!
Part 2: This installation of the Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. Decoy Study Gallery tour brings us to the Atlantic Flyway. Ward Foundation Chairman and wildfowl artist Rich Smoker highlights decoys and makers from the St. Lawrence down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, including decoy carvers from our own back yard: the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia.
Part 3: This week in our continuing tour of the Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. Decoy Study Gallery, Ward Foundation Chairman Rich Smoker is joined remotely by Vice-Chairman Dr. Darrell Hagar, as they guide you through the decoys of the Upper Chesapeake Bay and New Jersey.
Part 4: Welcome back to the Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. Decoy Study Gallery! Today Ward Foundation Chairman and wildfowl artist Rich Smoker will walk you through some of the antique decoys of Long Island, NY, and New Jersey – telling you a bit about the makers and their techniques. We hope you enjoy!
Part 5: In this final installation of our tour of the Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. Decoy Study Gallery you’ll see decoys made to survive the rough waters of New England and the Maritime Provinces. Join Ward Foundation Chairman and wildfowl artist Rich Smoker as he takes you north on the Atlantic Flyway. Stick around for the end of the video, to learn a little bit about the Decoy Study Gallery’s namesake, Henry Fleceknstein.