About Us Major Accomplishments
Below is a sampling of the achievements of the Baltimore National Heritage Area and its forerunner, the Baltimore City Heritage Area.
Urban Heritage Trail Network
Established three urban heritage trails: Heritage Walk, Mount Vernon Cultural Walk, and Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail. Each trail includes a map/guide product, historic site markers, and large storyboard interpretive signs. Tours are offered May through the end of October for a nominal fee to visitors and residents. Guided tours have been provided to approximately 7,260 visitors and residents since 2008. The Historic Fell’s Point Trail is currently in the final stages of completion. Guided walking tours for this trail started during summer 2011.
National Heritage Area Designation
Completion of a feasibility study for a national heritage area, tied to the completion of the 2007 Management Action Plan Update, led to the designation. President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 on March 30, 2009 designating the Baltimore National Heritage Area.
Charles Street National Scenic Byway Designation
Heritage area staff worked to designate the Charles Street corridor as a national scenic byway. Following completion of the nomination application in December 2008, Charles Street was successfully designated a national scenic byway on October 19, 2009. Staff designed and distributed a map/guide product for the Charles Street National Scenic Byway.
PS 103 Assessment and Plan
The heritage area managed the creation of an assessment and plan for PS103, Thurgood Marshall’s elementary school at 1315 Division Street. The plan calls for nominating the site as a National Historic Landmark and outlines how the city can work with a tenant to develop an interpretive component to the site that does not rely upon city funding. The assessment and plan includes a historic structure report, a history study (with 30 oral histories), an interpretive plan, a draft nomination for National Historic Landmark designation, and a management/phasing/financing plan.
Baltimore Civil War Museum
Heritage area staff worked with stakeholders on the refurbishment of exhibits at the Baltimore Civil War Museum at President Street Station and the opening of the Eastern National-managed bookstore and gift shop.
War of 1812 Bicentennial Planning and Programming
In 2012, a planner was hired to develop a plan for Baltimore’s participation in the War of 1812 Bicentennial. A committee structure was created with seven working committees and twenty-five sub-committees to manage the work.
The heritage area developed an 1812 Traveling Exhibit (“Defense of a Nation: Maryland in the War of 1812”) that travels locally and regionally to increase awareness in the bicentennial and drive cultural heritage travelers to Baltimore during the bicentennial years.
A teacher resource guide (Defense of a Nation: Maryland’s Role in the War of 1812) was created along with two teacher curricula for use in the classroom.
The Baltimore National Heritage Area served as the city’s lead coordinator for the U.S. Navy’s community relation activities. Eleven sites across the city welcomed military personnel (U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen) in volunteer activities, often with additional support from neighbors and others interested in providing a helping hand. More than 400 military and 125 civilian volunteers participated in the projects, which ranged from preparing nutritious meals for those-in-need (Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland) to planting nearly 2,000 plants at the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park. Navy personnel and local volunteers created community gardens in Charles Village and Westport, assisted Civic Works in restoration work at Clifton Mansion, and helped the Preservation Society of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point conserve its archival records documenting the War of 1812.
The heritage area produced the “Passport to the Bicentennial Celebration for The War of 1812 (2012-2014)” distributing over 20,000 copies to people of all ages during the Sailabration. Passport holders can get their passports stamped at visiting ships and local 1812 sites and events throughout the bicentennial commemoration. The Dorothy L. and Henry A. Rosenberg, Jr. Foundation generously funded the passport.
Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Kick-Off
The heritage area managed Baltimore’s kick-off to the state’s commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by hosting a commemorative parade, living history performance, and a grand opening reception for the Baltimore Civil War Museum at President Street Station.
The heritage area manages a small capital grants program that has awarded more than $1 million in 72 separate project grants to organizations completing small capital projects. These small capital projects assist organizations with visitor-readiness are funded with city capital improvement and bond funds.
Staff worked with partners to draft competitive grant applications to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. The heritage area and its partners have received more than 80 grants for a total exceeding $3 million.
Baltimore City Lecture Series
Beginning in 2013, the heritage area has sponsored the “It’s More than History” lecture series held in early spring at Baltimore City Hall.
Authentic Baltimore Program
Based loosely on a program from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Authentic Baltimore program highlights sites, events, lodging, and restaurants that are unique to the Baltimore National Heritage Area.
Formation of the Baltimore Heritage Area Association
In late 2011, the 501(c)(3) Baltimore Heritage Area Association Inc. was established to effectively manage the heritage area in 2012 and beyond.
Created an effective e-blast communication system for partners providing regular partner blasts and news blasts throughout the year.
Baltimore City Historic Site Plaque Program
Developed a process to manage the city’s historic site plaque program in coordination with the city’s Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation. The program installs interpretive plaques on city landmarks and other significant resources.
Heritage Area Partner of the Year Award
Introduced the Heritage Area Partner of the Year Award in 2011. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have played a significant role in advancing and supporting the goals and objectives of the BNHA.
Tour Guide Training
Provided tour guide training in order to ensure factual and professional tours to Baltimore visitors and residents. In addition to the training the heritage area provides to its urban rangers, the heritage area began offering daylong workshops on effective guide practices and Baltimore history. The initial program was funded by a grant from the National Park Foundation.
A Lasting Legacy Passport
In 2015, the heritage area created and distributed A Lasting Legacy: Baltimore's African American Heritage Passport. The 48-page passport was a guide to the people and places that contributed to the city's African American heritage. PNC Bank branches in the city distributed 10,000 passports; an additional 10,000 passports were distributed by the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and through branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
Heritage Investment Grant Program
Launched in 2015, the Heritage Investment Grant program provides small but strategic investments in non-capital projects and programs that support heritage tourism in the heritage area. In the grant program's first year, $200,000 was awarded to fund a variety of projects, included operational support for a number of small museums. `
Kids in Kayaks
In 2015, BNHA brought together the National Park Service, Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to teach eighth-grade students how to kayak as well as learn about the ecology and history of the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay. More than 600 students particpated in the program which continued through the spring of 2016.