The Board of Public Works gave Salisbury State University the green light yesterday to take over the Ward Museum, a financially troubled Eastern Shore tourist attraction known for its collection of decoys and other wildfowl art.
Under the agreement, Salisbury State will pay the Ward Foundation $1 and assume the museum's $1.6 million in debt so that it can take control of the 25-year-old institution. The university will acquire the Salisbury waterfront museum and its 4.2 acres of grounds, valued at $4.7 million, along with an art collection valued at $4 million. As part of the agreement, the university will gain control of the museum's board, whose members will step aside.
Richard A. Pusey, the university's vice president for administration and finance, told the board he is confident that the university has the resources and personnel to turn the museum around.
Comptroller William Donald Schaefer expressed approval of the takeover plan. "It's a great museum," he said.
The museum, named after renowned decoy makers Lem and Steve Ward of Crisfield, claims to have the most comprehensive collection of carved wildfowl art in the world.