The Maryland Historical Trust is pleased to welcome Dr. Zachary Singer as Research Archeologist in the Office of Research, Survey, and Registration. Zac will primarily be responsible for maintaining the Maryland Archeological Synthesis Project, summarizing Phase II and III compliance archeology reports in MHT’s library. Zac will also participate in grants management, archeological fieldwork, and will conduct research on collections entrusted to MHT’s care.
Zac’s interest in Maryland archeology was first piqued as a student at Towson High School, when he interned with Dr. Bob Wall of Towson University, studying his Paleoindian assemblage from the Barton site. Zac went on to earn his B.A. at the University of Maryland, College Park and gained field experience under the direction of Dr. Stephen Brighton and Dr. David Gadsby. Zac took a hiatus from Maryland archeology to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut where he excavated and analyzed New England Paleoindian sites under the guidance of Dr. Kevin McBride, Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, Dr. Daniel Adler, and the late Dr. Brian Jones.
After receiving his doctorate, Zac returned to Maryland to teach and conduct research, once again, in the archeology of his home state. Prior to joining MHT, Zac taught and conducted research through a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Towson University, as an adjunct professor at Washington College, as a 2016 and 2017 Gloria S. King Research Fellow at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, as a contractual archeologist for Anne Arundel County’s Cultural Resources Division, and as Public Programs Coordinator for the Lost Towns Project, Inc.
Zac’s major research interest is Maryland’s prehistoric occupations with a particular focus on studying the Paleoindian period to refine interpretations of Maryland’s earliest inhabitants. Zac is also keen on collections based research, analyzing (or re-analyzing) artifact collections generated by both professional and avocational archeologists in order to glean information about Maryland’s past.
By Heather Barrett, Administrator of Research & Survey
The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) is pleased to announce the FY 2020 Historic Preservation Non-Capital Grant Program recipients. MHT received over $1 million dollars in non-capital grant requests this year and awarded nine grants totaling $300,000 to Maryland nonprofit organizations and local jurisdictions for fiscal year 2020. The funds for these grants were distributed from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority Financing Fund to MHT to support and encourage research, survey, planning and educational activities involving architectural, archeological and cultural resources.
The goal of the Historic Preservation Non-Capital Grants Program is to identify, document, and preserve buildings, communities and sites of historical and cultural importance to the State of Maryland. MHT identified several special funding priorities for the FY 2020 grant cycle, including: broad-based and comprehensive archeological or architectural surveys; assessment and documentation of threatened areas of the state due to impacts of natural disasters and ongoing natural processes; and projects undertaking in-depth architectural or archeological study of a specific topic, time period, or theme. This year’s grant awards ranged from $15,000 to $55,000.
The availability of fiscal year 2021 Historic Preservation Non-Capital Grants Program funds will be announced in the spring of 2020 on MHT’s website. Application deadlines and workshop dates will also be found on this page at that time.
For more information about the grant program, please contact Heather Barrett, Administrator of Research and Survey at MHT, at 410-697-9536 or email@example.com. For information about organizations receiving grants, please contact the institutions directly.
University of Delaware – Regional Project
($48,800 grant awarded)
The project includes a cultural resource survey to document dairy farms and their associated farm structures in Carroll, Cecil, and Frederick counties, as well as the preparation of three brief historic contexts. The work is designed to be the first of a multi-year, statewide project to survey these threatened historic resources.
The John M. and Sara R. Walton Foundation, Inc. – Prince George’s County
($55,000 grant awarded)
The project will create a preservation plan for the main house at Poplar Hill on His Lordship’s Kindness and some of its most important outbuildings, including the smokehouse, dairy, slave infirmary, privy, pigeon cote, corn crib, garage/chauffeur’s apartment, and granary.
City of Frederick – Frederick County
($22,000 grant awarded)
This project entails revising and updating the Frederick Historic District National Register Nomination (1988), including a detailed and inclusive historic context to meet current standards to address the topics of African Americans, women, workers, immigrants, and LGBTQ histories. The project also involves re-evaluating the existing boundaries with justifications, establishing a period of significance, preparing a contributing/noncontributing map and corresponding list, and updated photography.
Somerset County Historical Trust, Inc. – Somerset and Dorchester Counties
($55,000 grant awarded)
Project work includes the completion of a historic sites survey (Phase III) for threatened resources in Dorchester and Somerset counties.
The Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc. – Location Undetermined
($15,000 grant awarded)
This proposal will partially fund the 2020 Field Session in Maryland Archeology at an as-yet undetermined site in the spring of 2020. The field session provides a hands-on opportunity for laypersons to learn archeological methods under the direction of professional archeologists.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Archeological Foundation, Inc. – Queen Anne’s County
($30,000 grant awarded)
Pedestrian shoreline and plowed field archeological surveys, shovel testing, excavations, and remote sensing investigations will be carried out on Parsons Island in Queen Anne’s County. Parsons Island is currently eroding at a rate of approximately 1 acre per year. A geoarcheological assessment of the island’s exposed shorelines will also be completed, and all data will be incorporated into a monograph on the island’s disappearing cultural resources.
Anne Arundel County – Regional Project
($37,000 grant awarded)
Anne Arundel County’s Cultural Resources Division (AACo) proposes a one-year archeological project to enhance the existing stewardship of the Robert Ogle collection. The collection (donated to the county in 2009) includes annotated quad maps, detailed notebooks, and photographs linking the collections to sites in Maryland. Many of “Ogle’s” sites do not survive, so the collection is the last record of these cultural resources. Funds will be used for the professional curation, processing, and cataloging of the collection, as well as to update Maryland Archeological Site Survey Forms and to produce a final report.
Baltimore Heritage, Inc. – City of Baltimore
($21,200 grant awarded)
Project involves conducting a survey of African American heritage sites in the Old West Baltimore National Register District, resulting in new or expanded Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) forms.
Town of Perryville – Cecil County
($16,000 grant awarded)
This project will involve using non-invasive archeological survey techniques to determine the presence or absence of outbuildings that supported the operation of Rodgers Tavern and the Susquehanna Lower Ferry. In addition, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database will be built for managing previously-collected archeological information, existing utility locations, anticipated construction, and the generation of new maps and analyses.
By Ennis Barbery Smith, Maryland Heritage Areas Program Assistant Administrator
In years past, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) has provided up to $15,000 annually to each of the 13 Certified Heritage Areas across the state of Maryland for locally-administered “mini-grant” programs, but starting last year MHAA increased this funding level to $25,000 per heritage. Compared with the larger project grants available through MHAA, mini-grants allow Certified Heritage Areas to support smaller-scale projects, activities, and partners.
This funding increase allowed the Baltimore National Heritage Area(BNHA) to design and launch the Neighborhood Placemaking Grant Program, which provides funding to help neighborhoods in the heritage area become visitor-ready and highlight the unique cultural heritage that each neighborhood has to offer. Eligible projects fall into three categories:
Navigate Your Neighborhood: Festivals,
performances, re-enactments, and events that promote heritage tourism and
Plan for Your Neighborhood: Planning and
feasibility studies for capital projects, vacant lot development planning, and
Green Your Neighborhood: Projects that promote
neighborhood greening activities, environmental stewardship, cleanliness,
beautification, and citizen community education
The overwhelming response that this grant program received has revealed a significant need for funding to support these types of projects in Baltimore City. While $25,000 was made available for the program from MHAA, BNHA received requests for funding that totaled over $80,000. The heritage area ended up pulling in additional funding from another source in order to award $27,945 total to seven important projects. Shauntee Daniels, Executive Director of BNHA underscored the importance of the Neighborhood Placemaking Grants, when she explained that “every neighborhood has a story.”
Daniels emphasized that many of the neighborhoods’ stories are centered around immigration: “All of these little enclaves of neighborhoods were brought together and built by people who came here as cultural groups.” She described how the area around the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore, known as Jonestown, is a good example of a neighborhood with an engaging story to tell, but – all-too-often – museum visitors pass right through the neighborhood itself. The Jewish Museum received a Neighborhood Placemaking Grant to help fund the annual Jonestown Festival in 2019, highlighting the neighborhood’s engaging history.
The China Town Collective also received one of the inaugural Neighborhood Placemaking Grants to support their second-ever “Charm City Night Market.” Steph Hsu of the Collective said, “The Charm City Night Market celebrates the cultural exchange of Asian Americans in Baltimore City…. Thanks to the funding from the Neighborhood Placemaking Grant we were able to expand our possibilities with signage, wayfinding, and lighting, which will include lanterns designed by a local entrepreneur.”
In addition to creating opportunities for visitors, the Neighborhood Placemaking Grants have encouraged collaborations within and between communities across the heritage area. Kim Lane, Executive Director of Pigtown Main Street in Baltimore, offered this insight: “We shared it [the Neighborhood Placemaking Grant opportunity] with our partners in our area, which resulted in conversations that lead to a group of community leaders from Pigtown Main Street, Pigtown, Barre Circle, Ridgely’s Delight and Camden Carroll forming a committee to plan a heritage walk.”
This newly rebranded and reimagined mini-grant program builds on BNHA’s “Heritage Neighborhoods” goal, which calls on the heritage area to “assist visitor friendly neighborhoods offering heritage experiences” and specifically mentions “emerging heritage neighborhoods,” tasking BNHA with meeting neighborhoods where they are and supporting them in the early stages of becoming visitor-ready.
BNHA is currently accepting applications for this year’s round of Neighborhood Placemaking Grants. The deadline to apply is December 9. Read more about this opportunity on their website.
By Ennis Barbery Smith, Maryland Heritage Areas Program Assistant Administrator
It’s October, and many of us working in the historic
preservation and heritage tourism fields are offering our annual retellings of
the spooky stories associated with the buildings we help steward. Some of us
are leading ghost tours and hanging fake cobwebs from eaves. However, the
“scary” thing that I’m writing about today is the grants process. It’s not
“spooky” scary. It doesn’t go bump in the night, but it is frightening in other
ways. Grants can keep us up at night, and by us, I mean both grant
recipients and grants managers.
Here at MHT, we
have some good news to share about how we’re trying to make the grant reporting
process a little less frightening for everyone involved. But, before I get to
that, if you’re unfamiliar with grants, you may be wondering “what could be
frightening about grants?” I asked some of our grantees and grants managers to
share their fears, and here’s a listing of some of their answers:
13 Grants-Related Things that Frighten Us:
Grant Applicant / Recipients’ Fears: Writing an entire application thinking you understand the priorities of the funding organization, only to get a rejection letter detailing how you completely missed the mark
Looking through a grant application to see how much time you need to complete it, allotting that time, then realizing later that the final step is five letters of support and the grant is due by close of business
Forgetting your password for the grant portal on the day the grant is due
Manipulating your project budget to fit into the form that has been provided in the grant application, and inadvertently leaving out an important expense in the process
Answering what seems to be the same question on a grant application five times and struggling to make the answer sound different each time
Finding out the grant is reimbursable when you were counting on money up front and your operating budget is tight
Doing the math and finding out that the total money (i.e. staff time) you’ve spent writing grant reports and providing financial documentation is greater than your total grant award
Finding out there are more strings attached to the grant award than you realized, such as being required to purchase a ticket to the funding organization’s event
Grant Managers’ Fears: Finding out, in your grantee’s final report, that the entire project has changed without them telling you, and they’ve spent the grant money on expenses that your grant program can’t cover
Finding out that the project contact has literally disappeared from the grantee organization and not told anyone else at the organization about the grant’s existence
Realizing that a grantee who was awarded a historic preservation grant has inadvertently used the money to dismantle historic elements of the building
Seeing that a grantee has not taken the time to fact check their interpretive sign at a historic site, but they have taken the time to include your organization’s logo prominently
Realizing that – out of the hundreds of pages of financial documentation you’ve reviewed – only a few pages relate directly to the grant project
In summary, the
grants process is fraught with things that frighten us. While MHT can’t control
all of the scary circumstances listed here, we at MHT are making changes
to some of the processes within our control: our financial documentation and
grant amendment policies.
Those of you who have received grant funding from one of our programs in the past will probably recall scanning and uploading stacks of cancelled checks and invoices each time you requested a disbursement of your grant funding. Over the years, long before compiling this list, our grantees have been giving us feedback about how they sometimes felt they were spending more time documenting their grant spending than actually doing the important work directly related to their projects. During the series of public meetings that MHT held as part of the process of updating the Statewide Preservation Plan, PreserveMaryland II, our past and present grantees echoed these concerns.
listened to this feedback, and now we’re making changes:
Less paper to scan and submit: Under our old policies, MHT required grantees to submit both “proof of expenditure” (invoices, receipts, etc.) and corresponding “proof of payment” (cancelled checks, credit card statements, etc.) for all expenses associated with their grant projects. Across all of our programs, we will no longer be requiring grantees to submit “proof of payment.”
Streamlined amendments and extensions: We will now be processing most grant extensions and amendments via email. Grant extensions and amendments, when approved, allow grantees to make changes to the timetables, scopes of work, and budgets associated with their projects.
For MHAA grants, a “spot-check” process: While all Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) grantees must still retain financial documentation of grant-related expenses, only a portion of MHAA grantees will be required to scan and upload their financial documentation as part of their grant reporting. You can think of this as similar to the IRS’s tax-filing system in which the IRS only requires that a portion of audited tax-payers submit documentation for their tax claims.
We hope that
these changes—and other changes that are more program-specific—will mean that
our grantees can complete their reporting requirements in less time and have
more time to spend on their projects. The rollout of this new financial
documentation policy looks different for each of our grant programs. Please
contact the MHT staff person you’ve been working with if you have questions
about how this might apply to your grant.
To our grantees, MHT thanks you for all the important
projects you’re working on to steward Maryland’s heritage. This
Halloween-season, may these changes lighten your workload a little, so you can
focus on the important things, like getting that
fog-machine in working order or curating the perfect collection of gourds, if
you’re sticking with a more restrained autumnal style.
Thank you to the grantees and grants managers who contributed to the list of grant-related fears! If you enjoyed this Halloween-themed blog and you’ve worked in the non-profit world, you might also be interested in this description of a visit to a non-profit-themed haunted house – it’s truly terrifying.
By Stephanie Soder, 2019 Summer Intern in Maryland Archeology
Having recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Maritime Studies (Archeology), I was excited when I was chosen as the Maryland Historical Trust’s summer intern. I grew up just over the Mason-Dixon border in Pennsylvania and spent about half of my life in Maryland, so I was happy to be back in the state I considered “home”. The MHT Archeology staff wasted no time in throwing me into the chaos of gearing up for the annual Tyler Bastian Field Session that was taking place at Billingsley House in Prince George’s County.
Though the Billingsley House dates to the 18th century, this 11-day field session focused on finding two 17th-century Native American villages. I was charged with keeping the field lab running smoothly and the site forms organized. Water buckets and toothbrushes came out every day for artifact washing, allowing volunteers to take a break from digging in the heat. Every tenth bucket coming from each unit was water screened through a ⅛” mesh, hoping to reveal small trade beads (and creating quite the mess). By the end of the session, 12 units had been opened, resulting in artifacts ranging from pre-colonial lithics and ceramics to nails, faunal remains, and fire-cracked rock. Thanks to the hard efforts of the lab volunteers, almost all of the artifacts were washed and weighed by the end of the last day.
The remaining time of my internship was split between a
variety of projects. I was able to work on projects that met my interests, and
though I love to be out in the field, I challenged myself by taking on tasks
that I was not as familiar with: Section 106 review and compliance, artifact
identification, and remote sensing.
Compliance archeology focuses on ensuring that federal and
state funded projects limit impacts to the historical integrity of sites around
Maryland. Dixie Henry and Beth Cole shared their expectations for compliance
reports and gave me federal and state standards for archeology and
architectural studies to read. They then allowed to me to review some
compliance reports and tag along on a consultation meeting with the National
Park Service to mitigate impacts to historic sites while building their new C
& O Canal Headquarters. The time I spent learning about compliance has
reinforced my appreciation for the work that goes into protecting our historical
My graduate research focused largely on Pacific Islander culture and modern conflict, so getting familiar with artifacts found throughout Maryland was a necessity. I spent much of the second half of my internship in the lab cleaning, identifying, and photographing artifacts from previously completed fieldwork in Janes Island State Park (Somerset County). I then began working on site forms and compiled a report that highlighted research on each type of artifact find. There’s no better way to learn how to complete a task than getting to do it first-hand, and I feel that my time working with the artifacts helped familiarize me with examples found around Maryland and the resources available for identification.
Most of my previous work involved excavation or evaluation with very little training in remote sensing. Under the tutelage of Matt McKnight and Charlie Hall, I learned how to run a magnetic susceptibility meter and a fluxgate gradiometer. Putting what I had learned to the test, we set out for a new site that may be associated with an ordinary dating from the origins of Caroline County. I assisted with using the gradiometer and practiced with the magnetic susceptibility meter. The collected data will help with future work on the site by the Caroline County Historical Society. Out on Janes Island, Troy Nowak put me to work completing a side-scan sonar and bathymetric survey in Maryland waters. With a steady hand and concentration, I learned to follow transect lines while driving a boat in order to collect data consistently. The rest of the week was spent surveying the shoreline and tracking how it has changed over time in order to evaluate potential impacts on historical sites.
My summer at MHT came to an end far too quickly, but it has
been an extremely rewarding experience. It has helped prepare me for a career
in Maryland, and I’d like to thank the entire staff at MHT for their guidance,
patience, and for providing me this amazing opportunity.
By Ennis Barbery Smith, MHAA Assistant Administrator
When you think of “cultural resources” in Maryland, do you picture buildings and artifacts? And, when you read the phrase “natural resources,” what comes to mind? Perhaps a diamond back terrapin sunning itself in the marsh grasses?
These images are “zoomed in.” When we zoom out and use a landscape-scale perspective, thinking of any of the regions that make up Maryland’s 13 heritage areas for example, cultural and natural resources are intertwined. Historic Districts are often home to streams and dotted with trees. Agricultural landscapes — hemmed in by wetlands, rivers, and forests- – serve as stunning backdrops for nineteenth century barns and farm houses. On Maryland’s shores, in coastal and bay-side communities (like Tilghman Island, pictured below) cultural traditions, the economy, and the built environment are all closely tied with the surrounding land and water.
The Maryland Heritage Areas Program (MHAP) staff recently wrote a paper detailing examples of how the program uses a landscape-scale perspective to support a wide range of heritage tourism and education related grant projects: from hiking trails to museum exhibits, wetlands to web resources. Jennifer Ruffner presented the paper in November of 2018 at a symposium called Forward Together. The United States National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) held the symposium, bringing together an international group of scholars and professionals to discuss the linkages between culture and nature in their work.
The symposium was held in San Francisco at the Presidio (pictured below), a former army post turned park that includes historic buildings, walking trails, and an unusually high number of rare and endangered plant species. MHAP staff were honored to attend the symposium — especially in this setting that illustrated how the cultural and natural are so often linked, rather distinct.
If you are interested in reading more about how the Maryland Heritage Areas Program supports landscape-scale heritage conservation, MHAP staff’s paper is now available online.
U-1105 was the last German U-boat to cross the Atlantic. It departed England for Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 19 December 1945 under the command of U.S. Navy LCDR Hubert “Hugh” T. Murphy. LCDR Murphy and a prize crew of 38 delivered U-1105 after a harrowing 14-day crossing. They endured winter storms, heavy seas, and mechanical failures throughout their voyage without being briefed on the importance of their mission. The crew speculated and “agreed about why it was so necessary to get this one back to the states. . . the boat was built in 1943 and had snorkeling equipment for charging batteries while submerged. . . it was completely covered with rubber coating to help escape our sonar and their periscope and optical equipment [was] better in some ways than ours. The batteries could go longer without charging and required less watering.” (December 12, 1985 letter from William Ferguson who served on Murphy’s prize crew during U-1105’s Atlantic crossing).
The specific combination of
technologies on U-1105 attests to a
dramatic shift in U-boat tactics in response to Allied victories during May
1943. U-1105 was the only Type VIIC U-boat equipped with a snorkel, the
rubber coating Alberich and the
advanced hydrophone array GHG Balkon that
conducted a wartime patrol. It represents
a critical evolutionary stage in the development of the modern submarine.
The Maryland Historical Trust is hosting a lecture on October 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm by Aaron S. Hamilton, author of German Submarine U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ The Naval Archeology of a U-boat, published June 2019. It is a must-read for individuals intending to visit the U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ Historic Shipwreck Preserve or the exhibit at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum. Aaron is an academically trained historian and member of the Battle of the Atlantic Research and Expedition Group who has spent the past six years researching U-1105 as part of a broader study of the technical and tactical evolution of the U-boat in the last year of WWII.
Join MHT on October 15th to learn more about the history of U-1105 and how it ended up at the bottom of the Potomac River. Aaron will also show a ten-minute film of U-1105 taken by the U.S. Navy in 1948 during salvage training. This film has never been seen by the public.
Follow the links below to learn
about the U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ Historic
Shipwreck Preserve and the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum: