By Nicholas A. Redding
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou
In addition to the Maryland Historical Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also plays an important role in protecting Maryland’s historic resources. In terms of scale, DNR owns and manages more historic resources than any other agency of state government. DNR also manages the resident curatorship program, an effort to turn vacant, state-owned historic properties, into long-term rental opportunities for interested Marylanders. More information on the Department of Natural Resources.
The Challenge: In recent years, as state funding for preservation has been reduced, the overall size and capacity of the Maryland Historical Trust has also seen a significant reduction. Staff positions that once administered museum management programs have been eliminated. Grants that once supported projects across the state are no longer funded, which has drastically reduced the amount of survey and research being conducted in the state. As a result, Maryland’s historic resources have suffered.
At the Department of Natural Resources, the situation is similar. DNR has few staff dedicated to the management of their historic resources and even fewer dedicated funding streams for their repair and maintenance. In addition, surveys of state-owned historic resources have been sporadic and are desperately in need of updating.
Our Position: A well-funded and appropriately staffed Maryland Historical Trust is a necessity for the State of Maryland. Marylanders depend on the Trust to make informed and accurate decisions to safeguard our history – decisions that can only be made when the Trust has adequate resources.
At the Department of Natural Resources, Maryland deserves a state agency equipped to care for the resources the citizens of Maryland have purchased. Preservation Maryland recommends DNR conduct a new system-wide survey of historic resources and begin to implement rehabilitation and stabilization projects, where necessary, and develop a broader strategy for the future use of these important resources.