Best of Maryland Awards

Preservation Maryland is pleased to announce our 2023 Best of Maryland award winners.

The Best of Maryland awards shine a spotlight on the ceaseless work of Maryland’s volunteers, architects, artisans, legislators, and many more individuals who are doing the essential work of protecting the places that make Maryland such a special place to live, work, explore, and celebrate.

Read on to see the people and projects receiving awards in the categories of Smart Growth Excellence, Stewardship, Preservation Champion, The Phoenix, Artisan, and the Gearhart Professional Award.

Smart Growth Excellence Award: Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance

An award honoring an individual, organization, or project that best exemplifies the core tenets of smart growth. Smart growth is a broad and diverse movement which embraces environmentally and economically sustainable development patterns to create better opportunities for all citizens.

Kent County’s Storied Landscape: Place — Past and Present premieres at the Garfield Center for the Arts Friday, March 31. Following the premiere was a panel discussion moderated by Michael Chiarappa (right). Panelists include, from left, Elizabeth Watson, Kristen Nickerson, Rob McGinnis, Nick Redding, John Siedel, Frank Batavick, Darius Johnson and Ron Fithian. From Kent County News

Kent County’s Storied Landscape: Place – Past and Present, a MPT documentary in cooperation with the Kent Conservation & Preservation Alliance, explores tales of the land, water, and people who have woven a tapestry of cultures and customs in the Eastern Shore county. The film highlights how history can be found in a landscape, and how people can appreciate a region’s past, understand its present, and imagine its future. The documentary incorporates information, stories, and resources from the organization’s Preliminary Cultural Landscape Assessment of Kent County, Maryland and the Kent County Story Map, which document and share stories uncovered during a years-long survey of the history, integrity, and significance of the location. The 132-page assessment report is a comprehensive document that includes historical and contemporary maps highlighting important features of the landscape and historical resource that also serves as an important planning and documentation exercise for the preservation of the county’s cultural landscape.

Stewardship Award: Lewis Contractors


Presented to individuals or organizations to recognize exemplary stewardship of Maryland’s historic buildings, collections, landscapes, and archaeological sites. Nominations will be evaluated based on the degree to which the project conforms to applicable professional standards, such as the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and the degree to which the project has successfully protected a historic resource from harm. 

The construction of the Nature Education Center at Cylburn Arboretum involved the renovation/restoration of the dilapidated former Carriage House for the Cylburn Mansion as well as construction of a new addition to the structure to create exhibit and education space. Like the mansion itself, the late 19th-century carriage house was designed by George A Frederick, the famed architect for Baltimore’s City Hall and many other public buildings, using stone quarried from the Tyson family quarry at Bare Hills. Damaged by fire and falling trees, in 1912 the carriage house was re-constructed as a garage to house the family vehicles. Once the 200+ acre Cylburn property and mansion was acquired by Baltimore City as its largest public park and only certified arboretum, the carriage house was used as an adjunct structure for the nearby greenhouses yet was never fully restored.

Through the efforts of the Cylburn Arboretum Friends (CAF), who had partnered with the City since 1954 to oversee the care of the park, in 2019 CAF signed a lease with the City to restore the carriage house. Painstakingly restored, the carriage house space has been expanded by its complimentary addition which now documents not only the many trees and gardens within the arboretum but serves as education space to students at City Schools and other visitors to the park.

Beloved by City residents and many others throughout Maryland, the new Nature Education Center will serve both the CAF Horticultural Program with its garden workroom, model yard and storage shed, expand the offices of CAF and provide educational services to the many visitors to the arboretum.

Brunswick Mayor Nathan Brown

Preservation Champion: Brunswick Mayor Nathan Brown

Presented to an elected official in Maryland that champions historic preservation policy, programs, and supporting funding, and recognizes the importance of preserving Maryland heritage.

The City of Brunswick has a rich heritage depicted in numerous buildings and areas within the city, and Mayor Nathan Brown has proven to be an advocate and champion for the value of historic preservation in the Frederick County community. The creation, passage and implementation of Maryland’s first conservation district in Brunswick under Mayor Brown’s leadership gave residents, business owners, property owners, legislators, and other stakeholders the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive effort to protect and enhance the historic city. Brunswick has also received funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to enable homeowners to remain in their homes and fight blight, part of a broader revitalization effort in Brunswick. In 2022 Mayor Brown oversaw the successful move of the Historic WB Tower in Brunswick, the culmination of ten years of advocacy, determination, and planning.

The Phoenix Award: The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture

Presented to individuals or organizations to recognize projects demonstrating excellence in the revitalization of threatened or abandoned historic resources. 

The Peale Museum, 2008. Photo from Baltimore DGS.

Located in the heart of downtown Baltimore, just a few blocks from the city’s inner harbor and other tourist attractions, the Peale Museum building serves today as Baltimore’s community museum: both a platform and a showcase for the city’s storytellers that reflects the historical importance of Baltimore’s contemporary arts and intangible cultural heritage. Baltimore’s “stories” in all media – from physical exhibitions and performances to digital recordings and events – and are presented in-person and online with The Peale by local creators: griots, performers, artists, architects, historians, students, educators, and other culture-keepers. The Peale has recorded, shared, and archived thousands of digital stories and hundreds of live performances and events since relaunching in 2017. The Peale supports artists and storytellers with microgrants and new income opportunities from their creative work, as well as access to technical resources and expertise.

The Peale operates as a teaching museum and laboratory for cultural practice. Now in its third year, the Accomplished Arts Apprentices (AAA) program, led by the Peale’s Chief Curator, Jeffrey Kent, enables young people from Baltimore’s marginalized communities and returning citizens to earn a living wage while learning career skills in art handling, exhibition installation, gallery preparation, and historic preservation. The Peale also hosts artist and student fellows to provide paid educational and professional development opportunities that also help diversify the workforce in the cultural sector.

State House with Scaffolding

Artisan Award: The Preservation Tradespeople on the Restoration of the State House Dome


Presented to an individual or group of individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the art and artistry of a craft or trade that is used in the preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, or archaeological sites in Maryland.

Work on the largest wooden dome of its kind in North America, a National Historic Landmark, the oldest state house in America still in continuous legislative use, and America’s first peacetime capitol is a unique opportunity that demands a team of highly skilled hands. The Christman Company worked with select trade experts based on qualifications to perform work on significant historic structures in areas like window restoration, painting, and slate and shingle work.

Working with a challenging 5-month duration once scaffolding was erected, existing slate demo and lead paint abatement activities completed and a series of full-size mock-up’s approved, Trade partners completed their slate, wood siding, copper flashing, balustrade, window restoration acorn gilding and painting scopes successfully with the utmost quality and craftsmanship. The project team included The Christman Company, lead by Drew Brown, Tim Vandewalle, Tom Whitmore, and Molly Ding, architect Firm MCWB, and key trade partners including, Scaffold Resource, The Durable Restoration Company, Worcester Eisenbrandt, Gilder’s Studio, Murray Painting, Retro Environmental,  and Superior Iron.

Gearhart Professional Award: Lucille Walker

Presented to an individual who is employed as a professional by a historic preservation organization, agency, or academic institution and who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, knowledge, and creativity in the protection and preservation of Maryland’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archeological sites.

Lucille Walker, Executive Director of Southern Maryland Heritage Area, now one of the 13 Heritage Areas in Maryland, lead the charge to make Southern Maryland a National Heritage Area by speaking on the power of place in heritage tourism and why Southern Maryland informs the nation’s story. The designation, passed in just one session of Congress, spotlights the area’s American Indian legacy and cultural and historic significance, and raises the national profile of the area.