Eight Southern Maryland nonprofits, heritage tourism organizations and local jurisdictions received matching grants totaling $331,000 from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority on July 11.
The grant funds support heritage tourism projects with the goal of increasing economic development and job creation.
“It was an amazing year,” Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium Executive Director Lucille Walker said. “Every county was fully represented.”
The Southern Maryland MHAA is one of Maryland’s 13 certified heritage areas.
Walker said there are two levels of funding that groups can apply for in the heritage area. One is local or “seed” grants for up to $5,000 which can be applied to at the local consortium. The other can be applied through the local consortium to the state to acquire $50,000 to $100,000 in grants.
“So, that’s why I call mine seed — from ours the bigger ones grow,” Walker laughed.
This year, through partnering with the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland, the consortium received $100,000 in MHAA funds, $14,000 more than las year.
The funds will be used for what is more commonly known a Destination Southern Maryland and will be used for administrative needs and marketing initiatives in the region.
St. Mary’s County received three heritage area grant awards. Greenwell Foundation in Hollywood was awarded $21,870 for its Explore Greenwell: Interactive Heritage Tourism Project.
“The park represents all the environmental features Maryland has to offer: the Patuxent River, forests, watershed, meadows, marshes, prairies,” lists Barbara Wille, development director for the Greenwell Foundation.
Willie is responsible for fundraising and said “we are very excited — grateful for the grant.”
Wille said the foundation wanted people to know about Greenwell’s social, agriculture, equestrian history as well as what is happening at the 600-acre park today.
The grant funds is for the foundation to create additional web pages that people can click on when they are visiting various areas of the park to retrieve its history and how the areas are being used today.
“The Rosedale Manor House on the property has an interesting history of its own that people need to know,” Wille said.
April 2020 is the project completion date.
“Because it is a state park, physical display will be at a minimum,” Wille said, noting that the interactive pages will be accessible by visitors’ mobile phones, not kiosks in the park.
The plan is to offer a wide variety of ways to access pages and hopefully have signage in the park telling people how to access that information.
The St. Mary’s County commissioners were awarded $100,000 for a new building for St. Clement’s Island Museum.
The Friends of St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum received $6,700 for an interpretive panel project.
Calvert County received three grant awards. The county commissioners were awarded $20,000 in Heritage Area Authority grant money for archaeology at the Calverton historic site.”
“The Calverton was Calvert’s first county seat. It was laid out in 1668 on the shores of Battle Creek,” County Historic Planner Kirsti Uunila said.
Uunila said the seat of government left Calverton in 1724 and moved to where it remains today in Old Town Prince Frederick.
The grants funds will be used to hire a professional archaeologist to continue the archaeology that began as far back as 1936 at the sealed site, and to perform a more directed excavation at the site to uncover more of the town.
Uunila said it was urgent now because parts of the town are in danger of eroding out in the upcoming winter storms.
“The impact of storm surge, erosion, rising water … on that site has just been devastating,” Uunila explained.
In addition to a professional archeologists and rescuing shoreline remains, funding will complete processing of all artifacts recovered during the project writing and completion of a report on the archaeological investigations, the creation of one public program off-site to present the results of investigations and story map to be posted on the Calvert County website and linked to the Southern Maryland Heritage Area website.
Uunila said one of the most interesting artifacts found is a James I silver shilling from 1604 that was hand hammered.
It was found under a supporting post of a former structure.
The artifacts collected thus far are stored at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab, a state-of-the-art archaeological research, conservation and curation facility at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum and its conservation laboratory in St. Leonard.
The American Chestnut Land Trust also received $20,000 for its “Research for the Parkers Creek Heritage Trail” project.
Friends of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum received $52,600 for “Renovation of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum Core Exhibit.”
“They are a great example of our seed grants at work ,” Walker said, noting the railway museum received $4,425 last year to do an interpretive master plan. “The seed grants are excellent stepping stones to the larger grants.”
Charles County received one MHAA grant award.
Maryland Veterans Memorial Museum received $10,000 for its Revolutionary War Trail: Through Southern Maryland to Victory at Yorktown project.
Calls and emails to the museum were unreturned by press deadline.
Located in Newburg, the nonprofit museum recognizes all U.S. military veterans and houses historical artifacts and offers a variety of exhibits. It also offers as figurine reenactments.
Walker said she is excited for all the recipients and believes that “all voices need to be heard.”