Preservation Maryland recently convened one of the largest gatherings of Main Street and Heritage Area staff and supporters for a one-day intensive Summer School program on economic development and heritage tourism.

Over 100 preservationists heard from 14 speakers representing diverse organizations and places around Maryland and  as far away as Kentucky and New York. The thoughtful format of Summer School focuses on participant participation and collaboration, grouping folks together by location or topic area. We hope that everyone learned as much as we did organizing this event, and that it inspires action.

Some of our favorite moments included, David Price, Chief of Operations for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine sharing “Hungry for more visitors? It’s all about eating and drinking.” By forming partnerships with a local farm and a local restaurant the Museum now reaches entirely new audiences that have never visited before, providing a brand new revenue stream – that’s good for the museum, the community and the region.

Maryland has 13 Heritage Areas and 37 Main Street communities, and they work! Marci Ross and Heather Ersts from the Maryland Department of Tourism Development gave cold hard stats on the economic impact of heritage tourism. For instance, in a recent random telephone survey of Maryland residents a high percentage of respondents indicated that a member of their household participates in outdoor recreation activities, and that visiting historic sites ties with walking as THE most popular activity.

We’re proud to present this annual program, and want to thank our speakers, moderators, sponsors and attendees for another great Summer School.

Sponsors: The Middendorf Foundation, Baltimore National Heritage Area, Department of Housing and Community Development, Maryland Historical Trust, Baltimore Development Corporation, National Trust Insurance Company, Capital One Bank, David H. Gleason Associates, Morgan State University, University of Maryland, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Goucher College