Research Projects

The Lower Shore Traditions (LST) program at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art was founded in partnership with Maryland Traditions and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The program has broadened the reach of the Museum into the rich cultural landscape of the maritime, agricultural and marsh communities of the Delmarva Peninsula. Fieldwork conducted in these communities fuels exhibits, lectures, workshops, events, and publications and has formed the basis for partnerships with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

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, which addresses the heritage of the Lower Shore and presents meaningful ways for it to be incorporated into Maryland classrooms; the popular Delmarva Cooks program featuring regional cooks who carry on the traditions of the area through their foodways; and the Delmarvalous Festival, a showcase of the traditional lifeways and practices of the various communities of the Eastern Shore.

The fieldwork and research conducted by LST contributes to the development of changing exhibits and various aspects of the public programming coordinated by the Ward Museum. In partnership with Maryland Traditions, LST develops fieldwork initiatives and contributes to the ongoing work of documenting and supporting the living traditions of the Eastern Shore.

In addition to serving a broad cross-section of the community and its visitors, the Ward Museum is committed to contributing to the scholarly study of folklore and folklife. As we continue to build an archive of documents, recordings, and photographs that may be used by interested community members and international scholars, we also identify local tradition bearers and collect ethnographic materials that enhance the Museum’s existing programs and generate ideas for new initiatives.