J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum
The Tawes Museum and Oyster Reef Gift Shop hours (Memorial Day thru Labor Day):
Wednesday – Saturday 11am-5pm; Sunday 11am – 3pm with other hours as announced for special events and educational programs.
Through Thanksgiving Weekend: Friday and Saturday, 11am – 4 pm. Other times by appointment; call 410-968-2501.
The J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum is the central hub for CHF. Here you will see displays and exhibits that introduce and further educate you to the heritage of Crisfield and surrounding areas. The museum shares the story of Chesapeake life starting with the first humans to inhabit the area over 10,000 years ago to the era of when Crisfield was the seafood capitol of the world. The museum is a must-see for any local or guest to Crisfield.
Tawes Museum is in the heart of Crisfield’s Historic District located in Somers Cove Marina, adjacent to the area that was patented in 1663 as “Emmesox” by an original settler, Benjamin Somers. Incidentally, many locals are direct descendants of Benjamin and the other early settlers. These bloodlines, spanning three and a half centuries, are a prime reason Crisfield’s heritage and legacy is so fascinating.
The museum is also the location for the CHF’s gift shop where you can purchase memorabilia, keepsakes and so much more. Among the favorite items we offer at the gift shop is our line of cookbooks featuring local recipes where you can learn the secrets of preparing many of our world-famous delicacies.
For more information or to request specific operating hours, please contact us or call: 410.968.2501
Ward Brothers Workshop
The Ward Brothers, Lem an Steve, are the icons of the wildfowl carving community. The brothers were born in the last decade of the 19th century and carving ducks was passed onto them from their father. The brothers were born, raised and spent their lives in the Down Neck area of Crisfield.
A trait shared by many locals, Lem and Steve were attuned to nature and spent a good portion of their lives among the duck, geese and other wildfowl that would rest in the marshes and flats that are abundant “down the neck.”
The Ward Brothers carved decoys for many years, but as mass produced rubber decoys became readily available, the brothers transitioned in creating the perfect reproduction of wildfowl, introducing coloring and painting methods that have been mimicked every since.
Lem and Steve lived to enjoy the recognition from being featured in the National Geographic magazine in 1964, receiving honorary doctorates in 1972 and countless other awards. Not to bad for two ‘Down Neckers’ who didn’t drive and lived a very simple life.
Today, a large state of the art museum bears their name in Salisbury, MD; the Ward Museum. Thousands of visitors per year learn about the legacy of the Ward Brothers through the exhibits and programs of the Ward Museum. In addition to visiting the Ward Museum in Salisbury, a greater appreciation for their accomplishments will most certainly be gained by touring their actual workshop that is maintained and operated by the CHF.
If you’re a fan of carving, wildfowl or the overall culture of the Chesapeake Bay, you want to come visit the Ward Brother’s Workshop.
The Workshop operates on a flex schedule, Contact Us or call 410.968.2501 for more information on how to visit this piece of Chesapeake Bay history.
Cedar Island Marsh Sanctuary
Cedar Island Marsh Sanctuary is a wonderland for everyone from birdwatchers to marine biologists. There are over 300 acres to explore in the sanctuary and is used by everyone from marine biology teachers to kayakers.
Cedar Island is a co-managed project shared between the CHF, City of Crisfield and Lower Shore Land Trust. To ensure the sanctuary remains in its pristine condition, we ask you obtain permission prior to use. We’re happy to issue a permit and you can obtain one for yourself, family or students by Contacting Us or calling 410.968.2501
Crisfield Customs House
The Customs House, in downtown Crisfield, was the site of the U.S. Postal and Eastern District Customs Office in the early 20th Century. This building exudes the historical ambiance of the Port of Crisfield.
The Customs House is currently undergoing renovation, please visit the Customs House Website to learn more about this project.