Heritage Area Increases Program Budget and Awards

The Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium announces nearly twice the budget and number of awards in its second annual Mini-Grant Program. This program specifically funds small projects for historic sites, arts programs, preservation, conservation and other heritage cultural activities throughout the three counties that comprise the Heritage Area. The counties in the Southern Maryland Heritage Area are Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's.

The grants are all in the amount of $500, which is the maximum in the Mini-Grant Program. Each organization must match the awards dollar-for-dollar to fully fund their project or event. The award recipients for 2005 are as follows:

Friends of St. Clements Island and Piney Point Museums will receive $500 to help fund the development and printing of a self-guided interpretive brochure for the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and park. Estimated time of completion would be April 2006.

United Committee for Afro-American Contributions, will receive $500 to repair and reposition the three interpretive panels and one site identification sign at the Drayden African American Schoolhouse and also to replace text panel inserts for three interpretive signs. Estimated completion would be in March 2006.

Chesapeake Bay Floating Theatre will receive $500 to update a 1992 informational video about the James Adams Floating Theatre. The video will be shown at the Indian Head Center for the Arts and will be used for education and fund-raising. Source of matching funds will be private donors. The project should be completed within a few months of receiving the funds.

Chesapeake Bay Field Lab, will receive $500 to assist in the production of a 4-minute video to be titled, A Skipjack's Transformation, combining clips of the Dee of St. Mary's. New and historic footage will be used along with clips of the opening day of oyster season from Charles Kuralt's "Sunday Morning" program. The video will be shown at fund-raisers and will be used to leverage other funding to preserve the Dee.

Bayside History Museum will receive $500 to support the purchase of a display case to house the new materials acquired through a legacy. Father Grace of St. Anthony's Church left the museum items, artifacts and pictures from "Ewald's", an estate he represented. It is hoped to review the new exhibit at the Museum's annual block party on October 22, 2005.

Bayside History Museum will receive $500 to help fund the establishment of a web site that would describe and promote the museum. The web page would include basic information about the museum, hours of operations, links to other museums in the region and other pertinent information. The museum hopes to move quickly and have a page up within a month of receiving funding.

Friends of the Old Wallville School will receive $500 to create an interpretive brochure for the restored Old Wallville School - an early African-American one-room school in Calvert County. The school has been preserved and is being refurbished to serve as a historic learning laboratory, however this phase; the interpretive phase is just beginning. The work on the brochure will begin in November and be concluded in August of 2006.

The Southern Maryland Chapter of the Isaak Walton League of America will receive $500 for the development and production of a promotional brochure that would provide information about the organization, its facility, activities and re-use program. The plan is to have the brochure completed by April of 2006.

Each of the above will receive their funds as soon as they are ready to begin their projects. All projects are to be completed within one calendar year.

Roz Racanello, the Executive Director of the Consortium, has said that these may be just the beginning, and the region may be in line for additional funds for projects both large and small. "Congratulations to the recipients. We expect all of Southern Maryland and countless visitors to the region will benefit from these worthy projects. We expect to see Southern Maryland establish a vigorous tradition of support for historic, conservation and arts programs across the region," said Racanello. "We'll begin to look at other opportunities and continue to raise funds aggressively."

The Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium has a Friends Group, the Time & Tidekeepers, which will hold its first fund-raiser on Saturday, October 22. The event will be a Barn Dance to be held at the barn at Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood, and will include dinner, dancing to a live band and a silent auction. This event is part of a membership drive. All who join the Time & Tidekeepers during the drive receiving a complimentary copy of The Tobacco Barns of Southern Maryland poster produced by the Consortium. The poster also is for sale through the Consortium and at the three counties' Historical Societies, as well as other gift shops in the area. Tickets for the Barn Dance can be purchased at the Consortium office by calling 301-274-4083.

Last year the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium Mini-Grant Program funded projects at: Historic St. Mary's City, The Bayside History Museum, The One-Room Schoolhouse in Port Republic, The Wallville School, and The Chesapeake Bay Floating Theatre.

The mission of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium (SMHAC) is to enhance the economic activity of Southern Maryland through combining quality heritage tourism and small business development with preservation, cultural and natural resource conservation and education. Contact the Consortium at 301-274-4083, or by email, SoMdHeritage@tccsmd.org

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