This April, Preservation Maryland hosted an Open House at our archive held at the Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland. The event was curated by Jen Wachtel, a UMD graduate student, who has been working with the collection over the semester. Read on to find out more about what Jen found in the collection:

University of Maryland Grad Student Holds Preservation Maryland Open House
A Celebration of 86 Years of Stewardship and Advocacy

This spring, I had the pleasure of working with Preservation Maryland and the University of Maryland Special Collections and University Archives in promoting the archival records of Preservation Maryland. As part of a graduate practicum project, I organized an Open House on April 27, 2017 in celebration Preservation Maryland’s contributions to the Historic Preservation collections. Housed at the University of Maryland, Preservation Maryland’s records are an incredible resource for the university’s preservation students, the historic preservation community, and anyone interested in Maryland history. These documents are open to the public.

During the event, I delivered remarks about what I had learned about Preservation Maryland this semester. I described Preservation Maryland as the second oldest statewide preservation organization in the United States. During that time, the organization has transitioned from direct stewardship of historic structures to advocacy for historic preservation.

I displayed a selection of blueprints, photographs, reports, and correspondence that highlighted key aspects of Preservation Maryland’s history. Attendees had the opportunity to peruse documents on display in the reading room on display especially for promoting the Preservation Maryland collection. I selected documents demonstrating Preservation Maryland’s on-going partnerships across the preservation field, including with the Maryland Historical Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The nature of institutional documents such as those from Preservation Maryland means their archives include the seemingly mundane, such as emails and annual reports. A close examination, however, revealed Preservation Maryland’s incredible statewide influence with programs such as the Revolving Fund and promotion of statewide preservation tax credits. Typical documents also included correspondence documenting the many times Preservation Maryland has changed headquarters in Baltimore. An album of photographs from Saint Paul’s Rectory, for example, elicited strong memories from long-term representatives of this outstanding organization.

Jennifer Wachtel with an exhibit of the Preservation Maryland collection.

Some of the attendees’ favorite items were back issues of The Phoenix, the Preservation Maryland periodical, including Volume 1, Issue 1. They particularly enjoyed a box of records, where I had the opportunity to show staff and guests how the archives stores their documents once Preservation Maryland staff delivers their documents for researchers to access.

I would like to thank Preservation Maryland and Special Collections and University Archives for the opportunity to focus my practicum on advocacy for this exceptional collection. As a reminder, all of these documents are freely available for use as part of the Historic Preservation collections at Hornbake Library.

Jennifer Wachtel is University of Maryland masters student earning both a Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Arts in History and has taken on the Preservation Maryland archive as an independent research project in fulfillment of the requirements of the graduate Museum Scholarship and Material Cultural Certificate program.