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Research and Survey

Research and survey are the foundation of all preservation activity. The first step in the protection and interpretation of historic and cultural resources is to fully understand the object, site, or event. The MHT’s Research and Survey program takes the lead in identifying important resources and developing a detailed record of their past and present appearance, history, and significance.

The investigative process is varied and may include archival research, field survey of archeological sites and historic structures, or analysis of the historic fabric. Projects take place throughout the state, and may serve a wide variety of purposes, including the development of a county-wide inventory of historic resources, testing a predictive model for locating historic and prehistoric archeological sites, conducting site-specific research to aid in the preservation and rehabilitation of a significant resource, or collecting research material for a planned museum exhibit. In the past, research and survey projects have documented a diverse array of resources from agricultural or industrial structures to early 20th century neighborhoods and threatened archeological sites and buildings across the state.

While some research and survey projects are developed and undertaken by Trust staff, the majority are joint projects in partnership with local government agencies, private nonprofit organizations, or museums. Both state and federal grant funds aid these activities. The data collected is maintained in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties and field and research reports in the Maryland Historical Trust library, and is also incorporated into the MHT’s Geographic Information System.