Cultural Conservation Program

Saving Living Traditions—one story at a time

Interviewing a tobacco farmer in Southern MarylandThe purpose of cultural conservation is to safeguard the living traditions and stories that give life to the historic buildings, communities and landscapes that we value.  These traditions and stories provide rich human context and expand our knowledge of the built environment by talking to and documenting the experiences of the individuals who built, used, resided and worked there. 

From 1989 to 2009, the Trust administered a Cultural Conservation Program and during that time, the Program originated research of thematic significance such as lighthouses, aviation sites, and tobacco culture and contributed to the mitigation of lost and altered structures such as bridges and industrial sites.  While the Cultural Conservation Program was eliminated due to budget constraints in the fall of 2009, audio and visual materials resulting from Program activities remain available to researchers at the Maryland Historical Trust library.

Click here so see a Sample List of Oral History based projects sponsored by the Maryland Historical Trust

Technical Assistance

Individuals seeking advice in planning and implementing documentation projects, whether seeking recommendations for recording equipment, skills training, conducting a single oral or video history interview or research culminating in a film, public program or museum, should review the list of links to organizations included here.  A good place to start is the Maryland Traditions Program, an initiative of the Maryland State Arts Council which is designed to build folklife infrastructure statewide.  The Maryland Traditions Program offers apprenticeship and project grants and administers the annual ALTA awards program.   

Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Awards are available to masters of traditional performance, folk arts, crafts and building arts to work one-on-one with an apprentice of their choosing to guarantee the transmission of skills and knowledge. Past recipients include boat builders, blacksmiths, wood grainers, instrument makers, screen    painters, decoy carvers, muskrat skinners and ballad singers.

Maryland Traditions Project Grants are available to non-profit organizations to document, sustain, or present our state’s traditional arts and culture through research and programming.. Past projects include festivals, CDs, film, photo and radio documentaries,archival projects, symposia, and online and print publications.  

ALTA Awards for Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts honor People, Places, and Traditions that epitomize outstanding stewardship of our state’s traditions. Named for Garrett County folklorist Dr. Alta Schrock (1911-2001), founder of Penn Alps and Spruce Forest Artisan Village, past recipients of the ALTA award include The National Outdoor Show, The Sheep and Wool Festival, The Ladies Aid Society of Smith Island and Penn Alps and Spruce Forest Artisan Village.

Click here to visit the Maryland Traditions website and learn more.


This page updated: May 16, 2014