Spring 2024 Newsletter

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Register for the Field Session in Archaeology! 

From May 31 - June 10, 2024, the MHT and the Archeological Society of Maryland (ASM) will be hosting the 53rd annual field session at the C&O National Historical Park in Oldtown, MD. This is a follow-up on both geophysical remote sensing survey and brief ground-truthing excavations conducted in October 2023, where the presence of intact domestic features were discovered (thought to be related to the 18th-century fort and dwelling of Col. Thomas Cresap, aka the "Maryland Monster"). Visit the Archeological Society of Maryland website to register. In addition to the contributions of the ASM, funding for this project was provided in part by Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust.


Statewide Preservation Plan Approved

Heritage2031, Maryland’s new eight-year statewide preservation plan, has recently been approved by the National Park Service and the MHT Board of Trustees. This document will help guide government agencies, nonprofit advocates, and others involved in historic preservation, archaeology, and cultural heritage throughout the state. Visit the statewide preservation plan webpage to learn more and read Heritage2031.

Augmented and Virtual Reality at Historic Sites

By Dr. Brenna Spray, Outreach Coordinator

With technology changing quickly, it’s sometimes hard to keep up! You might have seen the terms Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) coming up more and more while visiting historic sites, but what do they mean?

Both technologies involve simulating reality, just in different ways. AR technology augments—or changes—your surroundings by adding digital elements often through a smartphone. The virtual environment is used in conjunction with the real world. VR, on the other hand, is a completely immersive experience that replaces the real world around you with a simulated one by using specialized headsets. Since VR needs specialized equipment, AR is most often employed at historic sites.


Augmented Reality Tour along the Underground Railroad (Dorchester County)

Funded by an FY 2019 MHAA grant, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway launched their AR tour in February 2021. Using existing stops on the Byway, as well as creating some new ones, visitors can now engage with the history of this area in a deeper way. For example, at the intersection at 4304 Bucktown Road in Bucktown, visitors can use their phones to see a 360° view of what the crossroads would have looked like in the mid-1800s, from shops to barns as well as animals and people. Four of these people can be clicked on, where they will tell their individual story, representing people from all walks of life: a fur trader, a free Black man, an enslaved woman, and an enslaver. "At Bayly House, a new stop on the Byway, AR will show a reenactor depicting Lizzie Amby, an enslaved woman who historically found her freedom through Harriet Tubman’s network.


Lakeland Community Heritage Augmented Reality Tour Phase 1 & 2 (Prince George’s County)

Funded by FY 2021 and FY 2022 MHAA grants, the Lakeland community is currently working towards an AR experience to highlight this historically Black neighborhood, building on the decade of content found in the Lakeland Digital Archive. The Phase 1 focus is on collecting and collating information in the archives and from interviews with past and present residents. Phase 2 will use this information to refine and develop audio for the tour and install physical signposts along the tour route. This AR tour will reveal the landscape and community erased by urban renewal and immerse visitors in artifacts, stories, and reflections of Black life in the neighborhood. The constructed tour route will encourage foot traffic to nearby businesses and restaurants on Route 1 and will be conveniently accessible to the neighborhood school and university for educational field trips. You can learn more about the Lakeland Community Heritage Project on their website.


Oakley Cabin (Montgomery County)

Launching just this month, Oakley Cabin has a new AR experience developed by XR Montgomery, Montgomery Parks, and the University of Maryland. With this new tour, visitors can view eight different AR experiences that depict the history and stories of Oakley Cabin. Visitors will use their smartphones to interact with a park ranger avatar, explore a flyover of the historical surroundings and 3D models of the cabin (including the the missing exterior sections), and engage in interactive games.


Chesapeake Heartland: Mapping African American Heritage

Mapping African American Heritage is a new initiative of Chesapeake Heartland to collect, explore, and share the Eastern Shore’s African American history. Through an MHAA grant, this project will be creating at least two VR experiences using digital, interactive mapping tools connecting historical materials to specific heritage. This digital collection, the VR experiences, and the Chesapeake Heartland Humanities Truck will also allow sites that are not currently ADA-accessible to share their story with a wider audience.


FY 2025 AAHPP Workshops

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and MHT will hold a series of in-person and virtual workshops for prospective African American Heritage Preservation Program applicants. Attendance is free, but you must register. Application information will be available on the program webpage starting March 22nd. For more information on the workshops and details on how to register, visit the AAHPP webpage.


MD TWOFIFTY Launches Website and Social Media

The Maryland TwoFifty Commission recently launched their official website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Youtube) to help plan and promote an inclusive, statewide, yearlong commemoration of the United States Semiquincentennial (250th) in Maryland through 2026. Website visitors can view places and events throughout the state; read stories about Maryland people, places, and traditions; and learn about funding resources and local initiatives. Stakeholders statewide are invited to attend a series of virtual statewide convenings and virtual office hours, with details on the Commission website.


In Case You Missed It...

In 2023, MHT was awarded a Preservation Planning Grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program to identify and document the understudied encampment sites and cultural resources associated with the march of American and French soldiers through Harford and Cecil Counties. The Rugged Road to Revolution project will include historical research, archaeological survey, and architectural documentation. 

Our History, Our Heritage Guest Blog: Discovering Nicholas Brice – A Baltimore County African American Patriot of the ‘War of 1812’ by Steven Xavier Lee


Reach Out!

There are many ways you can learn more about MHT, its programs, and the work it does. The latest news is updated regularly on our website. You can "like" and "follow" us on Facebook and Instagram, or sign up for our e-blasts to have our quarterly newsletters and other preservation news delivered straight to your inbox! If you are interested in joining the team at MHT, check the most recent job listings