Previous Exhibits


June 10th, 2022 - October 2nd, 2022

Fishing flies are designed as bait, to imitate insects and other treats at the end of a fly fisherman’s line. They are made from feathers, fur, and other delicate materials in a dazzling array of colors and textures. They require refined skill to create, and often look to be as much an art form as lure. Get to know the history and art of tied flies in this summer’s Welcome Gallery exhibit at the Ward Museum.



May 20th, 2022 - September 18th, 2022

Colorful, iridescent, and multi-textured bird feathers have long been used for ornamentation on clothing; they are featured in art work in a variety of media; and have been used creatively as an artistic medium themselves. This summer’s exhibit in the LaMay Gallery spotlights a variety of artwork interpreting or showcasing feathers—from traditional uses in Native American regalia to modern art featuring intricately cut bird feathers in abstract design.

2019 Ward's World Bird Carving Competition

Student Art Show

February 18th, 2022 - June 5th, 2022

A showcase of original pieces of art created by student artists from across the Eastern Shore. Displayed in the Welcome Gallery, the Student Art Show is a non-competitive display of student artwork, open to all students (PreK-12). The theme – as chosen by participating students for this year’s show is recycling, and will feature artwork made entirely from recycled materials.
Learn how to enter the Student Art Show

Student Art Show

“Another View” From Patrick Henry

January 28th, 2022 - May 15th, 2022

Local painter, Patrick Henry, has gained a reputation as one of the Shore’s most influential artists. For decades, his snapshots of life on Delmarva; seascapes, landscapes, local attractions from the boardwalk and small-town living, have been highly sought after by both local fans and collectors from all over the world. But from the events of 2020, a shift in perspective and a new body of work evolved. This exhibit focuses on the generational history of black families and their communities on the lower Eastern Shore. Using archived black and white photographs as reference, the paintings will be translated through the style and use of color that has come to define Henry’s work. “Another View” will be exhibited in the LaMay Gallery. Learn more about “Another View”

Patrick Henry Another View


October 8th, 2021 - February 13th, 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic new methods of teaching, shopping, dating, and creating art became the byproducts of necessity. The world was forced to adapt. . Artists, along the with rest of the world, had to pivot. Pivot!—a  new exhibit in the Ward Museum’s Welcome Gallery—will feature the work of established local artists whose subject matter and media were approached through the lens of a “new normal,” since the pandemic began.

Gardens of Paradise by Alla and Milana Borovskaia

Oliver “Tuts” Lawson: A Retrospective

September 24th, 2021 - January 23rd, 2022

Oliver “Tuts” Lawson: A retrospective, will feature pieces that tell the story of a living legend among decoy carvers. From his days as a teenager carving birds using strawberry baskets found while working at a grocery store in Crisfield, MD, to eclectic commissions and the many masterful birds made over a lifetime of dedication to craft, this exhibit in the LaMay Gallery  is rich with beautiful work and a unique history rooted in local cultural tradition.

Oliver 'Tuts' Lawson

Visionary Volunteers: The Volunteer Art Show

June 11th, 2021 - October 3rd, 2021

Every other year, the Ward Museum dedicates gallery space to exhibit artwork from the Ward Foundation’s multi-talented volunteers. This year’s exhibit will feature carvings, paintings, photography, stained glass, and even model ships – all made by the Museum’s gifted volunteers. Visionary Volunteers: The Volunteer Art Show is currently on display in the Welcome Gallery.

Img 5415

Las Aves: Birds in the Art of and Inspired by Mexico

May 21st, 2021 - September 19th, 2021

From colorful amate paintings, to intricate huipil fabric designs, fanciful alebrije sculpture, and modern printmaking–birds grace many of the vibrant art forms produced by the peoples of Mexico, and Mexican-Americans living in the United States.

This summer’s exhibit at the Ward Museum will highlight some of the many traditional art forms featuring birds, which are carried on by the artists and makers of Mexico. It will also feature birds in contemporary works created by artists living in the U.S. with heritage connected to Mexico.

Los pájaros adornan muchas de las vibrantes formas de arte producidas por los pueblos de México y los mexicano-estadounidenses que viven en los Estados Unidos, desde las coloridas pinturas amate hasta los intrincados diseños de telas de huipil, las fantásticas esculturas de alebrije y los grabados modernos.

La exhibición de este verano en el Museo Ward destacará algunas de las muchas formas de arte tradicionales con aves, que son llevadas a cabo por los artistas y creadores de México. También contará con aves en obras contemporáneas creadas por artistas que viven en los EEUU con herencia relacionada con México.

Amate Painting By Maria Guadalupe Casey "Amate painting by Maria Guadalupe Casey"

Signs of Spring

February 26th, 2021 - June 6th, 2021

Longer days, warming air, and new birds chirping all around—all these are sure signs of spring on the Delmarva Peninsula. This new exhibit highlights some of the beautiful spring birds that make their appearance in our region each year. These birds join us to nest or refuel during long journeys along the Atlantic Flyway, a sort of bird superhighway that stretches from South America north through Canada, to Greenland.

The exhibit also features some of our year-round feathered residents, which show their own signs of spring: new colors, new preferred habitats, and new life in tow—lines of ducklings and goslings waddling along. Visit Signs of Spring in the Welcome Gallery this spring to view a range of vibrant works of art, and learn about the beautiful migratory birds that will visit us this season, and resident birds about to show off.

Parula Warbler, Larry Barth (1991) "Parula Warbler, by Larry Barth"

Inspiration From Isolation: Student Art Show

February 19th, 2021 - May 2nd, 2021

For the 2021 Student Art Show, we are collecting student works of art of all media expressing the connections between the environment and social distancing – getting outdoors, staying indoors, seeing new wildlife, paintings, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, sculptures, photography, video, and more.

Student Art Show Mc Kc

Storytelling with Purpose: Documentary Quilts of Dr. Joan M. E. Gaither

November 6th, 2020 - May 9th, 2021

From emancipation in Maryland, to life as a young woman in the 1960s, to Black watermen of the Chesapeake—the story quilts of Dr. Joan Gaither tell powerful biographical stories of her life, the lives of those around her, and the lives of those who came before her. An artist, educator, and 2017 Maryland Heritage Award winner, Dr. Gaither is a master at interpreting autobiographical and community stories through multimedia quilts—sometimes on her own, and often with the assistance and vision of whole communities. Experience this unique exhibit, which will feature a made-for-exhibit Eastern Shore quilt created with the participation of regional communities engaged in workshops leading up to the show.

Dr. Joan M. E. Gaither "Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither"

Nature in The Abstract: The Art of Eileen Olson

July 22nd, 2020 - February 14th, 2021

Experience a new exhibit that will immerse visitors in the vibrancy and power of nature, as interpreted through the work of Delaware-based fine artist Eileen Olson. Nature in The Abstract: The Art of Eileen Olson features the unique abstract expressionist style Eileen is known for, and it will include brand new works debuting at the exhibit, exploring the dynamic natural world around us. Join us in taking a journey through the vision and artistry of Eileen Olson. Nature in The Abstract will run from July 22, 2020 through February 14, 2021 in the Welcome Gallery.

Silly Birds "Silly Birds"

Living Patterns: The Student Art Show

February 21st, 2020 - May 10th, 2020

Featured in the museum’s Welcome Gallery, the Student Art Show is a non-competitive display of student artwork open to all students (PreK – Grade 12) in public and private schools, as well as home-schooled students. Showcasing hundreds of pieces of art, the theme for this year’s Student Art Show is “Living Patterns” – because if you look closely enough, patterns are everywhere in nature. From the symmetry on a butterfly’s wings, to the striped coloration on a smallmouth bass, nature is made up of patterns. For the 2020 Student Art Show, the Ward Museum asked students to find a pattern in nature that inspired them; whether that pattern was symmetry, spots and stripes, spirals, or even fractals. Student submitted artwork includes paintings, drawings, pastels, crayons, photography, sculpture, and more.

Painting of Peacock, by Vada F. (Grade 7) "Painting of Peacock, by Vada F. (Grade 7)"

50 Years of Excellence: Sculptures from the Ward World Championship

January 17th, 2020 - November 4th, 2020

April 2020 will bring the 50th annual Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival. In celebration of this milestone, the Ward Museum’s LaMay Gallery will feature some of the “Best in World” winning pieces, starting with the very first from 1971. See some of the finest examples of gunning decoys and many of the most innovative interpretive sculptures the wildfowl carving community has to offer. Opening reception January 17, 5 p.m.

World's Interpretive Wood Sculpture Best In World Azul By Daniel Montano "2016 World's Interpretive Wood Sculpture Best In World Azul By Daniel Montano (Photo credit: Alan Wycheck)"

War Over the Waves: Oyster Wars of the Chesapeake

October 4th, 2019 - January 12th, 2020

After the Civil War, oyster harvesting exploded in the Chesapeake Bay, with watermen attempting to meet the demand of restaurants in major East Coast cities such as New York and Philadelphia. Many men from Virginia to New England set their eyes on the Chesapeake, and tried to claim a piece of it as their own. As states put restrictions on harvesting, however, access to oysters became scarce. In the end, these tenacious mollusks created fortunes for some, and were the downfall of others. War Over the Waves will display art and artifacts, and provide historical perspective, on the time of “the oyster wars”—when watermen, oyster pirates, and authorities clashed in an attempt to control the oyster industry and access to the Bay. It will also provide a view into how policies of that time continue to affect the oyster industry today.

Oyster War " The Oyster War in Chesapeake Bay, by Schell and Hogan, Harper’s Weekly, Mar. 1, 1884, courtesy of the Library of Congress "

Art of the Industry: Oyster Cans of the Mid-Atlantic

September 20th, 2019 - February 16th, 2020

Bold, bright colors, fanciful images, clever brand names, and strong graphic design dominate the look of historical oyster cans. Reflecting an aspect of competition in the industry, the art of oyster cans demonstrates the creativity and that can come from economic stresses and cultural references. This exhibit in the Ward Museum’s Welcome Gallery will feature a variety of these unconventional art pieces from around the region and country.

Oyster Cans From Ward Museum Photo Archive

Chesapeake Visual Icons

May 17th, 2019 - September 29th, 2019

The area surrounding the Chesapeake Bay has a distinct visual appeal that is centered on the iconic images of the Bay, its people, and the incredibly diverse bounty of both the water and land. From the arch of the Bay Bridge rising over the Chesapeake to the Ward Brothers in their workshop, this exhibit features historical pictures that have shaped the wider understanding of the Chesapeake. Paired with the historical images, contemporary photographers will display works that feature the Chesapeake through both cultural and environmental perspectives, offering a powerful sense of where we have been and where we are.

Aerial View Of The Chesapeake Bay "Aerial View of the Chesapeake, courtesy of Remsberg Photography"

Skilled Service: The Volunteer Art Show

April 19th, 2019 - September 15th, 2019

Many of the volunteers at the Ward Museum are accomplished artists themselves. The Welcome Gallery features a collection of works made using a variety of media and techniques by our dedicated volunteers.

Volunteer Art Show 2107

How We Live with Nature: The Student Art Show

February 22nd, 2019 - April 14th, 2019

The Annual Student Art Show at the Ward Museum brings together a wide range of student artists, focused on a specific theme. 2019’s theme is “How We Live with Nature,” focusing on the everyday landscapes of our communities and how each person interacts with it. These projects are intended to be multi-disciplinary, combining diverse forms of artistic creation with guided projects developed by teachers in coordination with Ward Museum education staff.

Room with sign Poetic Landscapes Student Art Show

A Practiced Eye: Robert Hines

February 22nd, 2019 - May 12th, 2019

Robert W. Hines was a wildlife artist who embodied the visual aspects of the federal conservation movement. This exhibit draws from an important collection of works donated to the museum by Frances B. Juriga and Dr. John D. Juriga of Elmyra, NY, longtime collectors, biographers, and enthusiasts of Hines’ work. As an illustrator, Hines was responsible for iconic and educational images of American wildlife throughout his decades of work with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (U.S.F.W.S.) in the mid-twentieth century. His legacy is as both an artist and a steward of nature, who strove to bring the beauty of nature to the American public so that they could better understand and therefore protect it.

Harlequins by Robert Hines "Harlequins by Robert Hines"

50 Finest Decoy Makers Before 1950

September 28th, 2018 - February 17th, 2019

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ward Foundation, the Ward Museum is holding an exhibit of fifty great decoy carvers and their works prior to 1950.  The content of the exhibit is drawn from community nominations for both makers and their birds.  It will be the premier exhibit during the Ward Foundation 50th Anniversary event held during Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo.

2018 50 finest exhibit "Pintail hen ca. 1935, by Charles Perdew"

A Century of Conservation: The 1918 North American Migratory Bird Treaty

August 24th, 2018 - February 17th, 2019

As part of the 50th anniversary of the Ward Foundation, the Ward Museum will be celebrating the centennial of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act and its transformative relationship with the Chesapeake Bay through a Welcome Gallery exhibit focused on the landmark legislation. Join us as we uncover the local impact of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act through a wide array of antique decoys, sporting accessories and conservation ephemera.

2018 Bird Treaty exhibit "Washington Market, 1906. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York"

Through Artist Eyes: The Eastern Shore Revealed

May 18th, 2018 - September 23rd, 2018

Artists from across the eastern shore exhibit works that explore the area’s natural and working landscapes, rich urban and rural lifeways, and the beauty of the everyday living in this special region.  Works in a variety of media, including painting, photography, wood, stone and metal, reveal the artistic vision and talents of those making art reflective of the Eastern Shore.

2018 Eastern Shore exibit "Tidewater Terrapin, by David Turner"

Delmarva Visions: The Works of Patrick Henry

January 26th, 2018 - May 13th, 2018

Patrick Henry is a painter and photographer who has been living and working on the Eastern Shore for most of his life. Over the course of many years he has gained a reputation as a skilled artist, able to capture the essence of Delmarva through his own vision of the people and places of the shore and its unique rhythms of life. This LaMay Gallery exhibit showcases the breadth of his years of work on the Eastern Shore.


Poetic Landscapes: The Student Art Show

January 9th, 2018 - April 15th, 2018

Every year the Ward Museum hosts a non-competitive student art show in the Welcome Gallery. The Ward Museum invites K-12 students from Delmarva to submit their artwork, based on a particular theme, to the annual Student Art Show. This year’s theme is “Poetic Landscapes,” in conjunction with the LaMay Gallery exhibit, “Delmarva Visions: The Works of Patrick Henry.”


Bottoms Up: The Underside of Decoys

September 29th, 2017 - January 21st, 2018

This LaMay Gallery exhibit showcases the variety of ways in which decoy makers and users have marked their decoys. From the brands of successive owners and gunning clubs to the poems and inscriptions of their makers, the ways in which the undersides of decoys have been marked demonstrate the historical lineage and patterns of use of the decoy as both a hunting tool and an art form.


Retrievers: The Hunter’s Best Friend

August 4th, 2017 - January 14th, 2018

The Retriever in its many breeds—Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake, Flat Coated, and more—have been the hunter’s companion performing essential tasks in the field for hundreds of years. This connection between dog and outdoorsman has been depicted in sporting art, recorded in literature, and prized at canine competitions.  This Welcome Gallery exhibit is being held in conjunction with the Golden Retriever Club of America’s National Specialty held in Salisbury, MD September 2017.


Backyard Birds & Birdhouses

May 19th, 2017 - September 24th, 2017

The beauty of nature is just right outside your window.  In rural and urban areas alike, migrating and residential birds bring a splash of color through the seasons.  Birdhouses are equal in the variety of their design and vibrant colors.  This LaMay Gallery exhibit will showcase the diversity of backyard birds and birdhouses.

birdhouse (1)

Talents Unveiled: A Volunteer Art Showcase

April 7th, 2017 - July 30th, 2017

Many of the volunteers at the Ward Museum are accomplished artists themselves. The Welcome Gallery features a collection of works made using a variety of media and techniques by our dedicated volunteers.


Illustrating Nature: The Student Art Show

February 17th, 2017 - April 2nd, 2017

Each spring the Ward Museum hosts an annual, non-competitive student art show in its Welcome Gallery. In preparation for this event, students in kindergarten through 12th grade all around the region are welcome to create and submit artwork relevant to a chosen theme. This spring the theme is “Illustrating Nature” in conjunction with the LaMay Gallery exhibit “Scientific Illustration: Artistry in the Age of Science.”

Scientific Illustration: Artistry in the Age of Science

January 27th, 2017 - May 14th, 2017

The field of scientific illustration offers beautiful renderings and visual explanations of scientific subjects from birds and butterflies to animals. This winter the Ward Museum invites you to explore the field of scientific illustration in a new exhibit in the LaMay Gallery, running January 27 – May 14, 2017. Come experience the breadth and beauty of illustrated flora and fauna depicted in prints and original work by old masters, as well as in original illustrations from contemporary artists. A free opening reception will take place February 17, from 5-7:00 p.m.

Audubon Osprey_250 "Osprey with Fish by J.J. Audubon, courtesy National Gallery of Art"

Chincoteague Expressions: Artists in Their Environment

September 16th, 2016 - February 12th, 2017

This fall and winter in the Ward Museum’s Welcome Gallery, artists living and working in modern-day Chincoteague will showcase their work as it reflects the natural environment they call home, and explores connections between the people and landscapes of Chincoteague. Experience innovative, multi-media art by some of the region’s best.

John Beam_Savage St houses_250 "Savage Street Houses by John Beam"

Chincoteague Decoys: Tides & Time

August 26th, 2016 - January 22nd, 2017

This fall, the Ward Museum is excited to celebrate the place of Chincoteague decoys in the world of carving, and in the heritage of the Eastern Shore. Come experience the form and artistry of both antique and contemporary Chincoteague decoys. Learn about this unique island and the carvers born of this place.

This exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. You can purchase the exhibit catalog from our website here.

Miles Hancock_MCI_250 "Miles Hancock in his workshop, photo courtesy of the Museum of Chincoteague Island"

Living Landscapes: The Photography of Cam Miller

July 10th, 2016 - September 11th, 2016

Cam Miller takes viewers on a visual journey through the many landscapes and communities of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and beyond through her award-winning photography. This 2015 Art in Nature Photo Festival Grand Champion will fill the Welcome Gallery with scenes featuring the diverse people, structures, natural formations, and events she has encountered through her years as a professional photographer and photography educator.

Meet Cam Miller at the 2016 Art in Nature Photo Festival, where she will be this year’s keynote speaker! This free event takes place at the Ward museum on Friday, August 12, 6-9:00 p.m.

Keyhole Rock_250 "2015 Art in Nature Photo Festival Grand Champion: "Keyhole Rock," by Cam Miller"

Larry Barth: Birds, Art & Design

April 11th, 2016 - August 21st, 2016

Over the past several decades wildfowl artists have dramatically extended the creative ways that they represent birds and their habitats. At the forefront of these changes, influencing the trajectory of the art form itself, is 16-time Best in World winner Larry Barth.

The Ward Museum is excited to showcase many of Barth’s finest works of art in a new exhibit in the LaMay Gallery this spring. This will be a unique opportunity to see the progression of Barth’s work, as well as to gain meaningful insight into the artist’s mind. Through Barth’s work as well as stories and information from the artist, visitors will experience the world of a true master.

Barth Killdeer_250 "2009 Best in World for Decorative Life-size Wildfowl (Killdeer), by Larry Barth"

Sumi-e Painting: The Art of Less

April 1st, 2016 - August 5th, 2016

Sumi-e refers to brushed ink that captures the spirit of poetry or the natural world with minimal strokes and color. This ancient art form has ties to a range of communities and cultural practices, and the sumi-e form emphasizes the beauty of individual brush strokes often made by hand-made brushes on specialized paper. The result provides a strong sense of connection to the artist’s subject. Visit the Welcome Gallery this spring to experience the simple, touching beauty of this ancient form as practiced by modern artists, including many right here on the Eastern Shore.

Joan Lok Robin

The Student Art Show: Water is for Everyone

February 19th, 2016 - March 27th, 2016

Each spring the Ward Museum hosts an annual, non-competitive student art show in its Welcome Gallery. In preparation for this event, students in kindergarten through 12th grade all around the region are welcome to create and submit artwork relevant to a chosen theme. This spring the theme is “Water is For Everyone.” Water is important to every individual, and the supply and purity of water is vital on a global—and local—scale.

2015 Student Art Show Winner

The Waterfowling Heritage of Assateague Island

October 2nd, 2015 - February 28th, 2016

For centuries hunters, trappers, and waterfowl enthusiasts have been drawn to the natural beauty and abundance of Assateague Island, a barrier island off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia, along the Atlantic Flyway. In the early 20th century the island hosted several gunning clubs, hunting lodges, and visiting sportsmen making the most of the locale. This fall—during the 50th anniversary year of the Assateague Island National Seashore—the Ward Museum’s LaMay gallery will feature a look at Assateague’s gunning clubs, decoy makers, trappers, and hunters—as well as the beautiful natural environment that makes this island’s place in the world of waterfowling unique.

Hunters in blinds of Assateague Island "Duck blind near Assateague Island. Photo courtesy of Ricks E & Diane Scott Savage"

Stepping Out in Style: A Penguin-palooza

August 28th, 2015 - February 14th, 2016

We’ll soon celebrate all things penguin, and why not? Over the years our tuxedoed friends have captured the imaginations of everyone from explorers and scientists to cartoonists and filmmakers. Even early decoy carvers, such as Charles Hart, were drawn to these birds’ unique form and character. Be sure to visit the Welcome Gallery this fall and winter, where we will feature an array of historical and contemporary art and information on the many varieties of penguin

Collection of wooden carved penguin sculptures "Charles Hart Emperor Penguins. Photo courtesy of Austin T. Miller American Antiques Inc., Columbus, OH"

The Volunteer Art Show: Celebrating Our Creative Community

July 17th, 2015 - August 13th, 2015

Many of our volunteers at the Ward Museum are accomplished artists themselves. Visit the Welcome Gallery to view a collection of works made using a variety of media and techniques, all by the hands of our dedicated volunteers.

Women painting lighthouse "Volunteer Betty Pitney works on a painting that was featured in the exhibit"

The Art of Sporting and Playing

May 15th, 2015 - September 20th, 2015
Carousel steed by Jennifer MacNeil "Trimper's Carousel Steed, photo by Jennifer MacNeill"

The Tradition and Sport of Falconry

April 3rd, 2015 - April 12th, 2015

Falconry, the art of hunting with birds of prey such as falcons and hawks, dates back at least 3,000 years. People throughout the world have long revered the sport as a way to successfully hunt game in the wild, and to bond with and observe these magnificent birds. In many parts of the world, falconry gained special popularity with nobility, including the Great Khans of Mongolia, the Mughals of India, and kings and queens throughout Europe. Falcons and other raptors became synonymous with nobility for centuries, and today they still hold high respect among hunters and birders alike. Visit the Welcome Gallery at the Ward Museum from April – July, 2015 for a look into the fascinating history and modern form of falconry.

Falconry predator "Hooded hag, photo by Jim Dayton"

The Art of Conservation: A Student Art Show

February 13th, 2015 - April 29th, 2015

Each year the Ward Museum invites students from Delmarva to submit their artwork to the annual Student Art Show held in the museum’s Welcome Gallery. Work exhibited there is thought up and created by individual students, as well as students in groups. This year’s theme was “The Art of Conservation,” and all art reflected students’ ideas about conservation. Examples of topics interpreted include recycling, keeping the environment clean, climate change, and clean energy.

Kids standing in front of school art

The Hidden Works of Jay N. “Ding” Darling

January 16th, 2015 - May 10th, 2015

Throughout his lifetime, J.N. “Ding” Darling (1876-1962) used his artistic skill, political savvy, and sharp wit to create an enduring legacy of environmental conservation. Darling won two Pulitzer Prizes for his political cartoons, served in the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey (a predecessor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) under Franklin D. Roosevelt, designed the first federal duck stamp, began what would become the National Wildlife Federation, and kept U.S. politicians on their toes. From January 16 through May 10, 2015 visit the LaMay Gallery at the Ward Museum for an unusual look into the life and works of Ding Darling. The Hidden Works of Jay N. “Ding” Darling will feature rare artifacts that help illustrate this conservationist and modern day renaissance man’s remarkable life.

Want to learn more about the exhibit? Check out this fun video produced by Hidden Works guest curator, Sam Koltinsky! You’ll get an insider’s view into the making of a Ward Museum exhibit, and the impact of this fascinating figure.

Antique photo of man sitting on chair with cigar "Jay N. "Ding" Darling in 1904, photo courtesy of the late Christopher "Kip" Koss"

Lloyd J. Tyler: Folk Artist, Decoy Maker

October 3rd, 2014 - January 11th, 2015

Lloyd J. Tyler (1898-1971) carved his first decoy at the age of twelve using a spokeshave, pocketknife, and hatchet. Even as an adult with a formal art education and other tools at his disposal, Tyler continued, using just a hatchet, a rasp and a spokeshave to produce good-looking, functional decoys by the hundreds, made in a matter of minutes. Despite his simple approach, the decoys, decorative carvings, and paintings he produced are sometimes realistic, often stylized, and occasionally whimsical, made to fulfill a great demand by local hunters, gunning clubs, and tourists. The LaMay Gallery showcases the delightful variety of working decoys and works of folk art created by the versatile and prolific “Coy Duck King.”

Lloyd Tyler Cats Painting "Tyler Family Cats by Lloyd Tyler"

Basketry: Traditions Interwoven

July 16th, 2014 - September 7th, 2014

Basket weaving is arguably the most widespread traditional art form in the history of human civilization. Archaeologists have found pressed imprints of woven baskets decorating clay pots more than 10,000 years old. The technique of weaving has been passed along, re-discovered, and expanded upon by countless cultures, and basket makers are as innovative today as their forebears were. Visit the Welcome Gallery for a look at historic and contemporary regional works ranging from farm baskets to eel pots to decorative art pieces like the one at right by Jean Poythress Koon.

Woven green basket on rock "Reed and oyster basket by Jean Poythress Koon"

Preserving Eden: The Photography of Clyde Butcher

July 11th, 2014 - September 28th, 2014

Clyde Butcher’s powerful black and white photographs explore his personal bond with the environment. The exquisite beauty and depth of his work draw the viewer into a relationship with nature. For more than fifty years, he has been preserving on film the untouched areas of the landscape. His large format cameras allow him to express the elaborate detail and textures that distinguish the intricacy of the landscape, with photographs ranging in size from 8×10 inches to 5×8 feet. Preserving Eden: The Photography of Clyde Butcher produced by the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium, Inc. Made possible with assistance from Clyde Butcher Galleries. Exhibit toured by the South Florida Museum Traveling Exhibits Service.

Black and white beach dunes

Birds of a Feather:Conservation Decoys

April 28th, 2014 - August 8th, 2014

Most decoys are used to attract birds within gunshot range for the purposes of hunting; however, decoys can have an altogether different purpose for conservationists. As hunters have observed for centuries, many species, like the puffins at right, exhibit social behavior, preferring to nest, rest, or feed in groups. Conservationists seeking to attract birds to certain areas may do by broadcasting calls, using mirrors, or placing decoys. As habitat areas are cleared of predators, restored, or opened up to replace old habitats lost to human development, decoys simulate the presence of birds and make returning birds feel more at home. This exhibit, on display in the Welcome Gallery, highlights these special decoys and the artists who devote their skills to making them. Image by Steve Kress, Project Puffin.

Kress Puffins standing on rock

Lessons Not Yet Learned: Endangered and Extinct Species

April 11th, 2014 - July 6th, 2018

What do passenger pigeons, golden toads, and Caribbean monk seals have in common? They’re all extinct as a direct result of human activity. This exhibition showcases art that brings attention to the endangered, threatened, and extinct species, featuring the work of animal carver Dr. Edward “Bud” Kaufman, who created the extinct (but still dapper) dodo at right. Many of the planet’s most endangered animals are also its most remarkable, opening the door to a world of fascinating social behavior, specialized senses, and complex ecosystems. Far from encountering only gloom and doom, guests will also learn the many ways people are working to save endangered and threatened creatures through captive breeding programs, legal protection, creating reserves, and conserving natural resources.

Dodox wooden sculpture

Family: A Selection of Student Art

February 7th, 2014 - April 24th, 2014

This exhibition in our Welcome Gallery features artwork from local K-12 students centered on the theme of family. The theme and noncompetitive nature of the exhibit foster creative freedom as well as a sense of community that complements our LaMay gallery exhibit, Natural Partnerships: Collaborations in Wildlife Art (see above).

Young boy standing in front of artwork

Natural Partnerships: Collaborations in Wildlife Art

January 17th, 2014 - April 6th, 2014

Many well-known decoy artists have worked in collaboration, forming partnerships that sometimes last for many decades. The works of Lem and Steve Ward; Charlie and Edna Perdew; and William and David Turner are all examples of the art that is created when two talents come together to create a rare harmony. This exhibit, on display in the LaMay Gallery, showcases the works of historic, contemporary, and regional wildlife art partnerships.

Partners in Carving, Charlie and Edna Perdew

A Flight of Science and Magic: The Owl

October 25th, 2013 - February 2nd, 2014

Associated with Halloween due to the solitary, nocturnal habits of most species and their eerie, hooting calls, owls have a fascinating natural history and physical characteristics as well as a rich cultural presence in symbolism, mythology, and literature. Specialized sight and hearing functions, nearly perfect camouflage, and the ability to fly almost silently make them among the stealthiest night hunters – only the large, vividly colored eyes may give it away as it sits in wait and listens for the slightest movement from the forest floor. With 200 species distributed throughout almost every part of the world, the owl is variously believed to be an omen of bad luck, ill health, or death, but its use as a symbol for the Greek goddess Athena, noted for art and scholarship, has led to its association with wisdom. The Welcome Gallery will feature a display of art, artifacts, photographs, and ephemera as we explore of the natural and cultural history of the owl. Watch our website for family-friendly educational programming to learn more about these not-so-spooky creatures!

Large owl with mouse in its beak

The Nature Photographer’s Kit: From Plates to Pixels

August 9th, 2013 - October 18th, 2013

Showcasing two centuries of photography equipment from early 1800’s innovations to digital imaging, the exhibit will illustrate the progression and refinement of photographic equipment to capture nature’s beauty. This display will be on exhibit in the Welcome Gallery alongside the winning photographs from the 2013 Art In Nature Photography Competition.

Man taking photo in nature black and white

Artist Expressions in Nature

August 8th, 2013 - September 8th, 2013

The Ward Museum is proud to present Artistic Expressions of Nature, featuring Gallery of Artists, a collaborative group of award-winning wildlife artists diverse in medium and unique in style, join together in an intimate and engaging atmosphere in the LaMay Gallery. Works include oil, water and acrylic paintings, photographs, etchings, pyrography, sculptures, and pencil, utilizing varied styles, materials, and surfaces. Each brings a unique perspective that supports a love of animals and nature, expressed and interpreted through compelling visual images that touch the viewer’s sensibilities. The group contributes a percentage of its proceeds toward wildlife conservation efforts and provides demonstrations and lectures to support and enrich the education, artistic, and conservation missions of each venue in which members display their work.

painting of cardinal standing on cement column

Artful Hands: Creations of Our Volunteers

August 7th, 2013 - October 19th, 2013

Many of our volunteers at the Ward Museum are accomplished artists themselves. The Welcome Gallery features a collection of works made using a variety of media and techniques by our dedicated volunteers.

Man looking at artwork of lighthouse

Art, Children’s Literature, and the Environment: Art and Photography from Green Earth Book Award Recipients

April 5th, 2013 - August 2nd, 2013

An amazing variety of art and photography from scratchboard to watercolors, cartoon art to stop-action photographs, will appeal to environmentalists of all ages. Works by Green Earth Book Award and honor book recipients depict topics as diverse as exploring every child’s backyard, the reforestation of Kenya, protecting the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea, and the melting ice of the arctic. The Green Earth Book Award (GEBA) was created by the Newton Marasco Foundation in collaboration with Salisbury University to get more books with a message of environmental stewardship into the hands of children and young adults and to connect authors with youth. The GEBA are the nation’s first annual awards for authors and illustrators whose books raise awareness of environmental stewardship, the beauty of our natural world, and the responsibility that we have to protect it. Captivating young people through the imagery of words and pictures is central to reaching and inspiring the next generation.

Green Earth Children Books

The Wildlife Painting of Matthew Hiller

January 25th, 2013 - August 2nd, 2013

Matthew Hillier’s wildlife paintings seek to offer the viewer a fresh vantage point, expressing more than the physical characteristics of a species and revealing a passion for his subject matter.  A former illustrator for a variety of wildlife publications, Hillier has traveled widely since his boyhood on the south coast of England. Since moving to the United States, he has begun painting marine subjects and North American animals in addition to the dramatic African and bird subjects for which he is renowned.

Sanderlings flying around beach

Student Art Show

December 7th, 2012 - April 24th, 2013

The annual non-competitive Student Art Show is open to all students on the Delmarva Peninsula in kindergarten through 12th grade. The event is open to public, private, and homeschooled students. New this year, the show will incorporate projects done by Wicomico County afterschool programs.

Winter on the Shore Theme Picture

The Photography of A. Aubrey Bodine

July 13th, 2012 - September 30th, 2012

In photographic circles around the world, A. Aubrey Bodine (1906-1970) was regarded as one of the finest pictorialists of the twentieth century. His pictures were exhibited in hundreds of prestigious shows, in scores of museums, and he won awards against top competition. His photographs were seen in the Sunday Sun, numerous books and magazines, on calendars, as murals, and as framed prints decorating homes. This exhibit, on display in the LaMay Gallery from July 13 to September 30, showcases a selection of Bodine’s work in the Chesapeake Bay region.

side profile of A. Aubrey Bodine 250

Something to Crow About: The Cultural History of the Chicken

June 15th, 2012 - August 5th, 2012

One of the most common and widespread domestic animals, chickens have been providing meat and eggs for humans for at least five thousand years. From the backyard to the table, chickens have played an important role in the culture of the Eastern Shore for generations. Something to Crow About displayed the history of this staple of farm life and traditional foodways through art, archival photographs, ephemera, and folklore.

two roosters with child sitting in the middle

Open To Interpretation: Interpretive Works of Art

April 13th, 2012 - June 8th, 2012

In 1987, the Ward World Championship Carving Competition introduced an interpretive category into the lineup of divisions, allowing for carvings that emphasize form, content, and movement over realism. This exhibit featured interpretive paintings, carvings, and other sculptures created to provoke thought and wonder.

Interpretive wood sculpture

Making Her Mark: A Showcase of Women’s Carvers

February 10th, 2012 - April 1st, 2012

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Ward Museum featured an exhibit of carvings by women from the early twentieth century to the present day. Although bird carving is associated strongly with me, women have been carving since at least the 1920s, when Helen Lay Strong of upstate New York began selling her carvings of miniature waterfowl, songbirds, and dogs. Gladys Black, “the bird lady of Iowa” and an avid conservationist, exhibited a carving in the very first Ward World Championship exhibition in 1968.

Helen Strong women carver

Maryland Masters: Edwin Remsberg’s Portraits of Maryland Traditions – Photographs

January 27th, 2012 - April 8th, 2012

Maryland Masters: Edwin Remsberg’s Portraits of Maryland Traditions is a collection of images that reveal the unique flavor of Maryland and its distinctive community traditions. These traditions have been handed down from generation to generation, from master to apprentice. Edwin Remsberg, Maryland photographer and Maryland Traditions collaborator since 2008, has captured these rituals in this series of portraits of men and women performing their individual practices. It has been through his passion for creating images that celebrate Maryland and his fascination with one’s sense of place that Remsberg has developed this collection.

Collage of nature images

Back from the Brink: Stories of Wildfowl Conservation

September 30th, 2011 - January 22nd, 2012

On the Eastern Shore of Maryland and throughout the United States, several species of birds have neared extinction as gunning practices and habitat loss have taken a toll on wildfowl populations. Over the last century the efforts of lawmakers, birdwatchers, environmentalists, hunters, and everyday citizens have helped to bring some species back from the brink. This exhibit shared stories of successful conservation efforts, attempts that came too late, and what the future might hold for currently threatened species and habitats.

Bald Eagle perched on rock


  • Swanfall: The Journey of Tundra Swans – Photographs by Dave Harp
  • Catching a Glimpse: Art and Artifacts Contributing to the Emergence of Interest in Birds
  • Regional Carvers from Carroll County
  • Watercolors of Art LaMay
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Wild Delmarva: Photographs by Kevin Fleming
  • Green Earth Book Award Winners (Salisbury University)
  • School Art Show


  • Catching Shadows: Tintype Portraits & Recorded Voices of Native Americans on Maryland’s Eastern Shore
  • Massachusetts Masters
  • A New Generation of Wildfowl Carvers – Youth Carvers
  • No Idle Hands: Discovering the Domestic Arts of Maryland’s Eastern Shore
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • 40 Years of Art, Nature, and Tradition: The Ward World Championship Retrospective
  • Regional Carver Gary Yoder
  • Nature in Bronze: The Sculpture of Paul Rhymer
  • School Art Show


  • The Decoys of Long Island
  • Photographs by Bill Wallen
  • A Taste of Salisbury: An Exhibit of Historic Salisbury – Documents and Artifacts
  • Cleaver Corvids – Crows, Magpies & Jays
  • Things with Wings: Mythological Creatures in Greek Art (Organized by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD)
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Robert G. Kerr: Waterfowl of the World in Miniature
  • Regional Carvers: Bill Veasey & his Students


  • Birds and Nature – Paintings by Herman Maril
  • Nature’s Treasures – School Art Show
  • Birds in Art – Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
  • Regional Carver: Eddie Wozny
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Decoys and Gunning Traditions of the New Jersey Shore
  • Regional Carvers: Dave Rhodes, J.P. Hand & Harry Shourds III
  • Reflections on Water: Delmarva Painters, Photographers & Sculptors


  • From Flowers to Feathers: The Works of Ernie Muehlmatt
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Derrydale Prints: Classic American Sporting Art
  • Delmarva School Art (K through Grade 12)
  • Timeless Treasures: Ward Brothers Decoys
  • Regional Carvers: Jobes Family
  • Mid-Atlantic Crafts


  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Colors of the Chesapeake – Student Art Show
  • The Garfinkle Family Collection
  • Regional Carvers: Habbart Dean and Bennett Scott
  • Chips off the Old Block: Decoy Traditions of Virginia’s Eastern Shore
  • Regional Carvers: Charlie Berry & Paul Nock
  • Decoys by Reggie Birch, Arthur Leonard, & Cameron McIntyre
  • Delmarva Crafts


  • Guy Coheleach Exhibit
  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Art
  • Wildlife Bronzes by William and David Turner
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Regional Carvers: Oliver Lawson & Rich Smoker
  • Masterworks from the Illinois River – Educational Storyline Thomas Figge Collection
  • Delmarva Crafts


  • Middle & High School Student Art
  • Elementary School Art
  • The Bird Series by Judith Vivell – Paintings
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • From the Chesapeake & Beyond by Wil Gobel, Wildlife Artist
  • Regional Carvers: Dan Brown and Josh Brewer
  • Collector’s Choice – Exhibit of individual collectors’ decoys
  • Regional Carvers: Ron Rue & Steven Foxwell
  • American Crafts


  • Middle & High School Student Art Show
  • Elementary School Art Show
  • Portraits of North American Endangered Species (An exhibit of photographs by Susan Middleton and David Liitschwager with artifacts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Robert Hines: National Wildlife Artist
  • Maryland Junior Duck Stamp Entries
  • Sporting Art – Ira Hudson Decoys
  • Salisbury University Senior Show
  • American Crafts


  • School Art Show
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • The Chesapeake Bay: An Artist’s Vision – Paintings by John Taylor
  • Graphite Drawings by Carol Rowan
  • Sporting Dog Art
  • Maryland Junior Duck Stamp Entries
  • American Crafts


Prior to 2001 the Welcome Gallery was used to show a film and introduce the museum.

  • Boehm Porcelain Sculptures
  • Volunteer Art Exhibit
  • Wildlife Images in Sculpture – Metal, Wood, Stone, and Glass
  • Elementary School Art Show
  • Fishing Around the World
  • Unforgettable Treasures: People, Places & Culture of the Eastern Shore (Photography by Brice Stump)
  • Imitations of Paradise – Photography by Christopher Burkett


  • Animals in African Art – Carvings, textiles & metal sculptures of animals- from the Robbins Center for Cross Cultural Communication, Washington, D.C
  • Nanticoke Traditions: Postcards from the River (Included memorabilia & artwork by local artists)
  • Bird Sculptures of the Millennium


  • Witness for Nature: The World of Rachel Carson
  • Wildlife Images: Sculptures in Metal, Wood, & Stone
  • Visions of the Eastern Shore: A Presentation of Paintings (Juried art from Delmarva Peninsula)
  • Louisiana Lures & Legends


  • Interpretive Sculpture by John Sharp
  • Chesapeake Spring: The Art of John Taylor
  • Painters of the Eastern Shore (Juried art from local artists)
  • Cobb’s Island Decoys & Artifacts: An Historical Perspective


  • The Lure of Fish Art: A Collection of Decorative Carvings
  • State Birds in Art – An exhibit of flat art & carved birds and flowers from all states
  • Antique Quilt & Folk Art


  • Sporting Dogs in Art: Past & Present
  • 1996 Maryland Duck Stamp Exhibits
  • Shadowbirds (Photograph of rails by William Burt- rental)
  • Chesapeake Bay Boat Models and Paintings
  • Frank W. Benson: His Sporting Art


  • Images of the North Country: The Art of Francis Lee Jaques
  • 1995 Maryland Duck Stamp Exhibit
  • Art and the Animal (Society of Animal Artists)
  • Painters of the Eastern Shore
  • Classic Decoys & Sporting Art – Featuring the Art of Milton C. Weiler


  • Shootin’ the Shore – Scorchy Tawes Photography
  • 1994 Maryland Duck Stamp Exhibit
  • The Wildlife of Maynard Reece
  • Sporting Art from the Golden Age (Paul Tudor Jones)
  • Classic Hunting Decoys & Sporting Art


  • Birds of the Chesapeake- John Taylor
  • Painters of the Eastern Shore
  • The Bronze Age
  • Spirits in the Wood Kwa Gulths


  • Birds in Art – Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (held in the Education Room because the galleries weren’t finished at the time).
  • Guy Coheleach Exhibit

50 Years of Art, Nature & Tradition: Ward Foundation Retrospective

The Ward Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018.  Established in 1968 to honor the legacy of Lem and Steve Ward, the foundation has grown to be a leader in the arts and cultural community of Maryland and beyond.  This Welcome gallery exhibit will showcase on the history of the foundation, its leaders and its impact in the community and beyond.

2018 retro exhibit " Overhead shot of Ward Foundation exhibit in Holloway Hall, Salisbury University campus, ca. 1975"