Lower Shore Traditions

History and Purpose

Begun in 2002, the Lower Shore Traditions program is the Ward Museum’s folklife and traditional arts program dedicated to researching, supporting, and interpreting the region’s rich cultural heritage – in collaboration with regional cultural communities and culture keepers.

As the home of the Lower Shore Traditions program, the Ward Museum is a regional folklife center in the Maryland Folklife Network, itself a part of the Maryland State Arts Council‘s Maryland Traditions program. Lower Shore Traditions was founded in partnership with Maryland Traditions and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Fieldwork–including interviews, audio and video recordings, documentary photography–conducted with cultural communities in the region fuels exhibits, lectures, workshops, events, and publications, and has formed the basis for partnerships with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, the National Folk Festival, and beyond.

The variety of programming from LST engages audiences of all ages from the surrounding communities. Past initiatives include Pass It On: Cultural Traditions of the Lower Eastern Shore, a K-12 Curriculum and Activity Guide; and the popular Delmarva Cooks program featuring regional cooks who carry on the traditions of the area through their foodways.

New projects and initiatives are always in the works, and yearly exhibits dedicated to highlighting Lower Shore Traditions research will begin in 2021.

Current projects and initiatives include:

  • Chesapeake Traditions Today, a 10-part radio and video series highlighting tradition bearers and traditional communities in the Chesapeake region. Chesapeake Traditions Today is produced in partnership with the National Folk Festival, and supported in part by Maryland Traditions and the National Council for the Traditional Arts, in collaboration with Delmarva Public Media.
  • The Delmarvalous Festival, a one-day folklife festival and decoy carving contest celebrating traditional lifeways and practices of the diverse communities of the Eastern Shore.
  • Lower Shore Traditions: Apart but not Alone, a research project aimed at learning about how culture keepers are carrying on traditions, and communities are staying connected, during the pandemic.
  • Lower Shore Traditions Archive The Ward Museum maintains an archive of documents, recordings, and photographs created as part of the Lower Shore Traditions program. Researchers and other interested individuals can learn about archive contents and access by contacting the Curator & Folklorist at 410-742-4988 ext. 119 or wardexhibits@salisbury.edu.

Check back soon for more information.