HistoryIsADrag BNHA in Action
Promoting, Preserving, and Enhancing Baltimore’s Historic and Cultural Legacy
With our partners across the city, the Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA) promotes and enhances the historic sites, attractions, neighborhoods, and parks that reveal Baltimore’s history and culture.
The heritage area’s history reaches back to 1997, when it was one of the first recognized state heritage areas in Maryland. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation establishing the Baltimore National Heritage Area.
Our most visible program is the network of urban heritage trails throughout the city. These trails are designed to pull visitors out of the Inner Harbor (the city’s main tourist area) and into the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. Guided tours allow visitors to understand more about the city’s history and explore neighborhoods with a trusted source.
Trails and grants are just a small part of our programs and projects. Last year we launched Kids in Kayaks which provides Baltimore city eighth-grade students a unique opportunity to learn a new skill (kayaking) while simultaneously learnibg about the history of their city and the Chesapeake environment. Capped off by a lesson in stewardship, this place-based experience has been called out as "the best field trip ever" by participating teachers and students.
Heritage area staff is also involved in historic preservation projects across the city, serving as a representative in meetings with local, state, and federal officials. We have also taken a lead role in finding a future use for Public School No. 103 in West Baltimore. It was in this school that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall spent his first six years in segregated public school.
BNHA also takes a leadership role in significant events in the city. During the War of 1812 Bicentennial events, the heritage area served as the lead in education activities and coordinated the U.S. Navy’s community relations activities in the city. In 2016, the heritage area will again work with the U.S. Navy and local partners during October’s Fleet Week.
Baltimore National Heritage Area in the City
The Baltimore National Heritage Area’s boundary encompasses the historic neighborhoods around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, extends west to Gwynns Falls and Leakin Park, and reaches north to Druid Hill Park and the Cylburn Arboretum. Covering roughly 22 square miles within the city, the heritage area is essentially a collection of historic structures, landscapes, cultural traditions, and other resources (such as parks and museums) that work together to tell Baltimore’s unique history.