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Thursday, October 30, 2003

USA Today: Ward Museum great place for American folk art

SALISBURY, MD---USA Today has named Salisbury University's Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art as one of the 10 great places to see American folk art.

The listing also includes the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, the Museum of Craft & Folk Art in San Francisco and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, VA.

Officials at the Ward, the only mid-Atlantic museum listed, are delighted to be in such company. The museum has one of the most respected collections of wildfowl carvings in the world, from historic decoy to fine art.

"It is a very important classification for the Ward Museum, one of the 10 great folk museums in America," said Ken Basile, executive director of SU’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Museum Programs.

Dr. Kent Kimmel, associate provost at SU and chair of the museum's governing board, the Ward Foundation, said the listing put the Ward in good company: "The museums listed in the article are some of the best folk art museums in the United States. It speaks highly of the Ward, its collections and its programs that we were included. I hope our local citizens take the opportunity to read the article and understand the significance of the Ward’s inclusion."

Basile said he thought the Ward's integration of artifacts and their cultural backgrounds helped it stand apart: "We do not just look at the objects, but the environment, the context they are made in—the water, the land, the communities of which they are a part."

The Ward Museum is a tireless promoter of the tradition, both locally and nationally, sponsoring the nation’s largest carving competition and exhibition each spring in Ocean City, MD. The museum also has been asked to be a partner with the Smithsonian Institution in putting on the annual National Folklife Festival held on the Mall in Washington D.C. this summer.

The museum will contribute to the showcase of wildfowl carving traditions of the region and exhibit research from the 2003 Folklife Field School, which the Ward Museum co-sponsored with the Library of Congress and Salisbury University, concerning the occupational traditions of Crisfield, MD.

The USA Today article may be found at www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20031024/5618025s.htm. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.


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