Preservation Maryland is seeking proposals from consultants with demonstrated expertise in the preparation of historic context reports. The project is funded by a grant to Preservation Maryland from the Maryland Historical Trust’s Non-Capital Preservation Grant program.

Revised 02/11/2021

Documenting Maryland’s Education History: A Context Study of School Architecture
Due March 19, 2021



Preservation Maryland is seeking proposals from consultants with demonstrated expertise in the preparation of historic context reports.

Project Background

Schools are often the heart of a community – they are anchors for education, engagement, events, voting and meetings. They are also widespread and play a central role in nearly every community in the state – they are perhaps one of the most prominent and widespread historic resource in the state without an adequate contextual report.

Maryland’s historic schools tell a profound story about the history of our state – and are intrinsically interconnected with the communities in which they reside. The structures themselves are the physical vestiges and reminders of how we’ve approached education and grappled with complex and challenging issues – from managing growth to racial integration and beyond.

Maryland is poised to spend several billion dollars on school construction in the coming decade. This funding will remake the landscape of school buildings in a manner previously unknown. Without an understanding of the significance and value of these buildings, advocates and community members will not have the necessary information to help shape the coming conversations about demolition, retrofits and rehabs. This project comes at a critical moment and will help save countless structures while helping place these resources in the broader context of the history of the state.

A professionally completed context report will provide an understanding of what is significant, what is worth saving, and how architects may incorporate important architectural features and sensitively rehabilitate important resources.

Project Description

This comprehensive research effort will develop a context report on the history of Maryland school construction from the earliest education efforts in the state to the early 1970s. The report will include a discussion of the research design and methodology for the study. The goal of the project will be to:

  • identify trends, patterns, and a broad understanding of how school architecture evolved over time;
  • identify the major styles, trends, and defining architectural features;
  • and develop a framework for evaluating architectural and historic significance;
  • building out a collection of sites that retain high degrees of integrity for their period of significance and are deserving of further documentation, recordation, or preservation.

A context report on Maryland’s historic schools will provide background and understanding to local and state officials as they consider changes, demolition and rehabilitation of school buildings. The report will also help to identify styles and characteristics worth of preservation and consideration during the state and federal Section 106 process and the design of schools.

Furthermore, the project will help to identify and bring to light the challenges of underrepresented history and the role which integration played in changing the landscape of Maryland’s schools. The project will also elevate the value of the state’s mid-century modern school architecture, which has been largely overlooked and is threatened by large scale rehabs and renovations on the horizon due to increased state investment in school construction.

Details of the project are shown in the scope of work. The project will be developed and deliverables produced during the period of March 2021 to August 2021.


The contractor shall provide the following services:

2.1 Develop, research and complete a peer-reviewed context study on the history of Maryland school construction as outlined in the project description.

2.2 Consultant will work with all project partners, agency representatives, and funders to ensure that the work is conducted appropriately and meets all requirements of the Maryland Historical Trust. All deliverables will be prepared in consultation with Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust.

2.3 The project will be undertaken utilizing the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, in particular the Guidelines for Preservation Planning. Such standards will be incorporated into the historic context report.

2.4 Submit the draft context to Preservation Maryland in electronic format and then the Maryland Historical Trust for review before final submission.

2.5 Following approval of the final report document, the consultant shall provide Preservation Maryland with a final PDF copy of the context report electronically.


All submitted proposals shall be complete and prepared in a straightforward and concise manner, including:

  • A letter of interest and explanation of consultant capabilities in successfully preparing the work detailed in 2.0 SERVICES and SCOPE OF WORK.
  • Resume of primary researcher(s) and their demonstrated expertise in historic research.
  • A list of similar projects and qualifying experiences.
  • Work plan outline and proposed timeline.
  • A proposed budget and detailed cost of services not to exceed $40,000.


4.1 Proposals submitted against this Request for Proposals must be received by 11:59PM EST., on Friday, March 19, 2021. Proposals that arrive after this date and time will not be considered. Notification of final selection and award of the project will occur by email on or about Friday, April 16, 2021.

4.2 Proposals for this RFP must be submitted as a PDF electronically to:

4.3 Any questions regarding this RFP are to be directed to: No calls, please.