Maryland Heritage Project
The Maryland Heritage Project is a collaboration between St. Mary's College and Historic St. Mary's City. The Project plans to construct or reconstruct important buildings as a means of bringing meaning to the civic legacies of Maryland's colonial capital. The Heritage Project significantly extends the College's founding principle of serving as a living academic monument to the first colonists in Maryland.
Subsequent to the completion of the new 1999 - 2009 Campus Facilities Plan, the College embarked on a new planning effort to study opportunities to share land and facilities with the Historic St. Mary's City Commission, the State agency charged with the preservation and interpretation of the St. Mary's City national historic landmark district. The joint land use planning effort, which began in the fall of 1999, resulted in the development of the Maryland Heritage Project.
The Heritage Project will provide for the preservation of Maryland's most historic lands, for the facilities that will preserve and improve them as heritage sites, and for the programs that will allow for multi-layered interpretation to diverse audiences. The Maryland Heritage Project will bring contemporary meaning to the civic legacies of the colonial capital of Maryland, and to extend significantly the College's founding principle to serve as a living academic monument to those first colonists.
In this Maryland's millennium year, St. Mary's College of Maryland proposes the Maryland Heritage Project in collaboration with Historic St. Mary's City, to include comprehensive components: (a) Maryland's Foundations of Democracy, (b) Maryland's Cultural Legacy, and (c) Maryland's Colonial Ways. In each, the College and the City will collaborate to construct or reconstruct important buildings, to bring contemporary meaning to the civic legacies of the colonial capital, and to extend significantly the College's founding principle to serve as a living academic monument to those first colonists.
Maryland's Foundations of Democracy includes reconstruction and interpretation of the St. John's site, the location of the first meetings of the Maryland Assembly. A capital program has already been submitted for consideration of the historic building reconstruction. Opening the site to public visitation will be enhanced by infrastructure improvements to the surrounding environment: burying visible utility lines; realigning roads and parking lots; and installing visitor friendly signage on the College campus and museum grounds.
The renovation of Calvert hall, the College's first permanent structure, is proposed to house academic programs which are allied to the interpretation of the historic legacy. These programs will draw support from such disciplines as history and political science around the principles that informed early democratic concepts. Funded in part by a generous private contribution, a Center for the Interpretation of Civil Society will host scholars-in-residence, ongoing research programs, and public outreach activities related to the theory and practice of democratic government, with the colonial Maryland experience a constant frame of reference.
Maryland's Cultural Legacy gives new importance to our social and anthropological studies, again beginning with the original colony, and giving much greater visibility and public application within a renovated Anne Arundel Hall. The renovated facility will accommodate the academic programs of the College that relate most directly to the City and will house the research staff and collections of Historic St. Mary's City. Anne Arundel Hall is built over the actual colonial town; thus it serves as an ideal physical and programmatic interface between St. Mary's College and Historic St. Mary's City. The collaboration of scholars from the College and the City is fostered in broad areas of archaeology, anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, and cultural history. Students, faculty, and visiting researchers will have ready access to museum collections and archival resources. This building will be recast not only for St. Mary's students but for the visitors to Historic St. Mary's City as well.
In order to reconfigure Calvert and Anne Arundel Halls and relocate current functions in these buildings, this second initiative also includes construction of a new student services and administration building on the north side of campus where it will be contiguous to other College facilities used by students on a daily basis.
Maryland's Colonial Ways includes the reconstitution of the 17th century Town Lands, including fully reconstructed buildings, ghost frames, roads, signage, and landscape, as well as construction of a new complex of museum exhibit galleries to replace an outmoded and cramped visitor center. In this new orientation building, visitors will encounter a much larger and constantly changing installation of artifacts and interpretive displays that present the full story of the colonial capital.