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Museum of Eastern Shore Culture at Salisbury University

SU Announces New Museum of Eastern Shore Culture

SALISBURY, MD---The Museum of Eastern Shore Culture at Salisbury University is coming to downtown Salisbury.

Located on the first floor of the Powell Building at 218 W. Main St., adjacent to SU Downtown, the museum tentatively is scheduled to open by summer 2024. It will feature exhibits and information related to local culture, including items formerly displayed at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.

"As part of SU's growing downtown presence, the museum will allow us to continue showcasing these priceless works of art while expanding into broader areas, including folklife, traditional arts and the rich regional heritage of the Eastern Shore and the Delmarva Peninsula," said Dr. Laurie Couch, SU provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

Among the exhibits upon opening will be a permanent display dedicated to the legacy of two world-renowned artists from Crisfield, MD: Lem and Steve Ward, namesakes of the former Ward Museum. Out of respect to the continuing efforts of the Ward Foundation, which founded the Ward Museum in 1990 and partnered with SU to operate the facility after its assets were transferred to the University in 2000, SU is not carrying over the "Ward" name to the new space.

"The Ward Brothers and the art they created are an integral part of the heritage of the Eastern Shore," said Raye-Valion Gillette, curator and folklife specialist of the Museum of Eastern Shore Culture and former curator of the Ward Museum.

"It is important for us to recognize their contributions while also expanding the scope of the new space to include aspects of local culture beyond wildfowl art," added Alexandra Kean, museum operations coordinator of the Museum of Eastern Shore Culture and previous interim deputy director of the Ward Foundation.

Items from the former Ward Museum will be on display on a rotating basis, as they were at their former home. Partnership agreements are being put in place with several area arts and cultural organizations to display select pieces of the collection. Notable future partners include the Delmarva Discovery Museum; Wicomico County Recreation, Parks and Tourism; and the Somerset County Historical Society. Items not on display will be kept in climate-controlled storage.

"Our top goals are to ensure the artwork is cared for and remains accessible to the public," said Kean.

Rotating exhibits will feature artwork by students and regional artists, as well as displays focusing on indigenous cultures and collaborations with other community organizations.

"As a leader, community partner and educational resource, the Museum of Eastern Shore Culture will create engaging experiences representative of the region's rich and diverse heritage and artistic expression," said Gillette, noting the vision statement for the facility.

In addition to exhibits, the museum also will host programming including workshops with local artisans, a speaker series featuring regional topics of interest, featured artist talks, regular youth and community programs, and open hours during the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District's monthly 3rd Friday celebration.

"We want this to be a community space," said Kean.

Admission to the museum will be free.

For more information visit the Museum of Eastern Shore Culture at SU website.