PreserveMaryland, the Statewide Preservation Plan 2014-2018
Goal 1: Connect with Broader Audiences
In survey responses and public forums, PreserveMaryland participants voiced strong concerns
about the public perception of historic preservation and the need to reach out to key
constituents with educational opportunities and positive messages. Indeed, some who participated
in the survey and forums opposed preservation and Maryland’s commitment to preservation
activities, viewing preservation as anti-development or a threat to private property rights
Based on the feedback received through the planning process, Maryland preservationists recognize
that they are a small and fairly insular group, and that the movement needs to
be more inclusive and diverse to build support and save more historic places. PreserveMaryland
participants suggested many target audiences for better communication, which
may be part of the problem – with too few resources to reach everyone,
the preservation message ends up reaching almost no one. To help set
priorities on the state and local levels, we indicate the top five audiences identified
by PreserveMaryland participants below.
Public officials. Participants recognize that public support
for preservation has diminished over time. Many local preservation commissions feel that
they are fighting an uphill battle and are viewed as anti-progress in their
jurisdictions. There are few preservation champions in the public realm on
the state or local levels, and many preservation advocates are unsure
how to engage elected officials.
Property owners in historic districts. Commercial and
residential property owners in historic districts frequently do not understand the
resources available to them to preserve their properties; many view preservation
as a burden. This was a particular concern for local commission members and staff.
Realtors and developers. Next to property
owners in historic districts, realtors and developers arguably have the most influence
over the dispensation of historic properties. Yet, many realtors and developers are
not aware of or have difficulty navigating preservation regulation or incentives.
Developers, in particular, frequently have concerns about the complexity and
duration of the regulatory process.
Local preservationists.The National Trust for
Historic Preservation has conducted marketing research that estimates approximately 15
million "local preservationists" exist nationally. Defined as people with a demonstrated
interest in preservation and related activities but not affiliated with the preservation
movement, this cohort includes potentially untapped allies.
Children (K-12). Participants
recognized that we need to communicate preservation values to children to ensure continued
stewardship of important historic places. Primarily, historic sites and others involved
in educational programming raised this concern.
What We Need to Do to IMPROVE
Share positive preservation stories and provide links via a Preservation Maryland
web page and multiple social media outlets.
Web page/social media –Preservation Maryland Uploads – Local preservation
organizations, Heritage Areas, MHT, Main Streets
Both the Maryland Historical Trust, through a newly formed Communications Committee, and Preservation Maryland,
through a newly created Director of Communications position, have dramatically increased the number, quality and
consistency of online posts, particularly via social media. In 2015, Preservation Maryland launched a Facebook
group, Maryland Preservation Forum, to allow preservationists to share information easily with each
other. Where appropriate, the statewide groups highlight local stories (including via guest posts)
collaborate with each other to promote shared initiatives.
Sponsor "Preservation Tuesdays" on MHT web site and social media outlets – Section
106 success stories, grant news etc.
The Maryland Historical Trust has shifted strategy away from "Preservation Tuesdays" and
toward regular (with a goal of weekly) social media and blog postings to achieve the same
objective. From 2014-2017, MHT produced hundreds of Facebook and Twitter posts, more than 80
blogs. In 2016, MHT relaunched its dormant newsletter as a quarterly e-newsletter, sent to
more than 7,000 people each quarter.
Reinforce a preservation component at events in all heritage areas.
Develop a suite of model materials, including print and electronic media, to
connect visitors and residents to local heritage and historic places.
MD Office of Tourism, MHAA, MAHM, MHT, Main Street Maryland
Both the Maryland Historical Trust, through a newly formed Communications Committee,
and Preservation Maryland, through a newly created Director of Communications position, have
dramatically increased the number, quality and consistency of online posts, particularly
via social media. In 2015, Preservation Maryland launched a Facebook group, Maryland Preservation
Forum, to allow preservationists to share information easily with each other. Where
appropriate, the statewide groups highlight local stories (including via guest posts)
collaborate with each other to promote shared initiatives.
Select advocacy projects with high public relations potential and develop
communications plans for each project. Some groups may need to recruit staff or volunteer assistance.
Local preservation organizations and commissions
Develop educational or outreach programs that are 1) easy to access with little preservation
training; 2) engage a new constituency; and 3) help educate people about the
history of their own community.
Local preservation organizations, especially historic and cultural sites
Create local training programs and/or roundtables to target realtors and developers. Model
after existing successful programs.
Local commissions and/or local preservation organizations with Main Streets
Create a "welcome basket" of materials, with information about preservation incentives, for
commercial and residential property owners in historic districts.
Local commissions with Main Streets, local preservation organizations (MHT assistance)
Share results of marketing study to assist local preservation groups in executing