May 23 - Crisfield Heritage Foundation - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

May 23 - Crisfield Heritage Foundation

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GOOD MORNING DELMARVA - The Crisfield Heritage Foundation Honors the Ward Brothers- the fathers of decorative decoy carving.

Crisfield, Maryland, the southernmost corner of Somerset County is known for many things. The pristine views of Tangier Sound, a history that dates back to the 1600's, great crabbing, fishing and beautiful sunsets, to name a few.  For those who may not know, this historic working waterman's community is also home to the wonderful Crisfield Heritage Foundation (CHF).  CHF has an illustrious heritage of preserving the history of this southernmost community and its surrounds.

CHF in turn, along with The Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art in Salisbury Maryland, are the curators of the legacy of Lem and Steve Ward, the original "Counterfeiters in Wildfowl Art".  You see what Lem and Steve were able to "reproduce" was something that looked just like the ducks that landed on the marshes outside their windows… but were actually only wood!

Well why the big hoopla? Crisfield is the birthplace of Lem and Steve Ward.  The brothers were lifelong residents of the solitary marshes that border the area.  Born into a life where you made your living from the land and the waters around them, both brothers were trained as barbers by their father to help supplement the family income.  However around 1918 they started carving decoys for the duck hunters that frequented the bay area.  You see hard times just got a little more difficult that year; Lem and Steve lost their father to a boating accident.  Now it was essential they work a little harder to put food on the table.  Though the brothers knew the way of the marsh and how to survive in it, they were more taken to dreaming than taking the hunting of waterfowl seriously for anything more than providing food for their table.  They were born artists and from this inborn gift has come a major American art form.   

On May 30th, The Crisfield Heritage Museum Foundation honors the Ward Brothers and welcomes visitors to revisit a time in history when the American art form of wooden decoy carving was in its infancy.  CHF will be celebrating the legacy of Lem and Steve Ward, considered the fathers of decorative decoy carving.  The highlight of the event will be the premier of a fifteen-minute film, which tells the story of the Ward Brothers.  This film was a joint project between CHF and The Ward Museum. The film and exhibit are co-produced by the Crisfield Heritage Foundation and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, supported by grants from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council and the generosity of an anonymous supporter.

In addition to the opening of the Museum and premier of the Ward Brothers film from 5-7pm, another CHF property, the original Ward Brothers Workshop on Sackertown Road will be open for tours.  Through the diligent efforts of many lower eastern shore decoy carvers, the Ward Workshop has been painstakingly restored and subsequently turned over to The Crisfield Heritage Foundation.  The workshop will be open to visitors May 30th, from 3pm -5pm where Rich Smoker, a world-renowned wildlife carver, will be your host.

This is an event open and free to the public.  

If you need additional information please contact Tim Howard at The Crisfield Heritage Foundation 3 Ninth Street Crisfield, Maryland 410-968-2501

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