Changing Exhibits

The Ward Museum’s Changing Exhibits program installs up to eight rotating exhibitions each year in the LaMay and Welcome Galleries. The Andrew’s Emerging Artist Showcase Gallery provides further exhibit potential, focused on young and emerging artists. Below are the current and upcoming exhibits at the Ward Museum.

Storytelling with Purpose: Documentary Quilts of Dr. Joan Gaither

May 22nd, 2020 - September 27th, 2020

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.

Joan Gaither By Kristin Sullivan "Joan Gaither"

50 Years of Excellence: Sculptures from the Ward World Championship

January 17th, 2020 - May 17th, 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

Charley Harper’s Bird Extravaganza

Charley Harper’s highly stylized wildlife prints, posters, and book illustrations have captivated generations of viewers. Readers and art enthusiasts may know his work from The Giant Golden Book of BiologyFord Times, or any of the over 50 ecological and conservation posters he created for non-profit conservation groups, nature centers, zoos, U.S. national parks and monuments, and international wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves.

The Ward Museum is excited to display a large collection of Charley Harper prints as part of Charley Harper’s Bird Extravaganza! In addition to the indoor exhibit, the Extravaganza continues outside as well. Get up close and personal with nature as you search for Harper’s birds and their real-life counterparts in a bird-themed scavenger hunt. The hunt takes place on the Norman and Judy Glenn and Eugene Burkett Nature Trails alongside the Ward Museum. This whimsical exhibit is sure to be fun for the whole family.

Harper Cardinal "Cardinal with Seed by Charlie Harper"