An Uncertain Future for America’s Cultural Heritage

By Elizabeth Hughes, Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, Maryland Historical Trust and President, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO)

As we celebrate Preservation Month and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal funding for historic preservation hangs in the balance.  Since 1976, the Historic Preservation Fund has supported state and local efforts to identify, protect, and enhance historic places that matter to Marylanders. In addition to special competitive grants, the Maryland Historical Trust receives approximately 20 percent of its annual budget from this fund.  Yet the fund’s authorization, supported by a small percentage of offshore drilling revenue, was allowed to expire on September 30, 2015.

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Maryland State Historic Preservation Officer and NCSHPO President Elizabeth Hughes gives testimony before the House Federal Lands Subcommittee in support of the Historic Preservation Fund in February 2015.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has positioned itself as a strong champion for preservation.  Continue reading

Preservation Advocacy, the Historic Preservation Fund, and You!

By Elizabeth Hughes, Deputy Director of the Maryland Historical Trust

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Cambridge is one of Maryland’s newest Certified Local Governments. In 2013, the Maryland Historical Trust awarded HPF funding to the city to improve its design guidelines. Photo credit: City of Cambridge.

Every year, Maryland historic preservation advocates present their legislative agenda to federal policy makers on Capitol Hill.  This pilgrimage is part of National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week, an annual event led by Preservation Action and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and supported by partner organizations from around the country. Continue reading

Congressman Sarbanes Supports Historic Preservation Funding

For the first time, the federal Historic Preservation Caucus co-chairs coordinated a Dear Colleague letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director, Peter Orszag, requesting funding for the nation’s core historic preservation programs in the President’s fiscal year 2011 Budget, due for release in early February. The letter requested $50 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, $5 million for a digitization/survey competitive grant program for SHPOs, $20 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, $30 million for Save Americas Treasures and $10 million for Preserve America. Twenty-eight members of the House Historic Preservation Caucus signed-on, including Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes. Continue reading

Maryland Historical Trust has joined the Coalition for Full Funding

The Maryland Historical Trust has joined the Coalition for Full Funding of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The Coalition is a diverse group of national, regional, state, and local organizations that believe full funding of the HPF should be the preservation community’s top priority. Continue reading