Stories of the Chesapeake Awards $25,000 in Small Grants

Concept plan for the next phase of the African American Schoolhouse Project at Washington College in Chestertown, one of the recipients of the grants made available by The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.

CENTREVILLE — The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area recently awarded eight matching grants totaling $25,000 to local heritage projects. These FY21 small grants support heritage projects and activities that attract visitors and expand economic development and tourism-related job creation in the four counties of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot are in the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.

Projects receiving grant awards include:

African American Schoolhouse Project - Washington College

Washington College received funding to extend the reach and impact of a collaboration between Washington College and the African American Schoolhouse Museum in Worton Point, Maryland, by funding a second phase of Museum improvements and educational outreach materials. This phase of collaboration will yield three tangible outcomes: a conservation-quality archive for photos and documents in the Museum’s collection; a set of exhibit panels for inside the Museum; and a set of interpretive window panels for the Museum’s exterior, linked to a virtual tour of the interior of the Museum.

African American Communities Exhibit – Talbot Historical Society

The Talbot Historical Society will develop an interpretive exhibit on the history of African American communities in Talbot County. This exhibit will tell the stories of the remarkable leaders who emerged as trailblazers, pacesetters, and achievers of historical significance. It will raise residents and visitor’s awareness of the important contributions made by African Americans to the history of Talbot county and the Eastern Shore.

Frederick Douglass Driving Tour Map and Guide – Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism proposes to create a printed version of the self-guided of the Frederick Douglass Driving tour. The brochure will reflect the information provided on the FrederickDouglassBirthplace.org website and a map. This project expands upon the Frederick Douglass Driving Tours project partially funded with a previous small grant.

Lawrence Wetland Preserve Interpretive Plan – Sultana Education Foundation

The Sultana Education Foundation (SEF) received funds to create a Comprehensive Interpretive Plan for its Lawrence Wetlands Preserve (LWP), a new urban wetland and nature preserve in Chestertown that will serve as an adjunct facility to SEF’s Holt Education Center. The LWP consists of 8.5 acres of property featuring a combination of forest, wetlands, meadows, swamp, and a one-acre pond, making it ideal for SEF’s nature and heritage-based programs. Over the next three years, SEF will improve the property by enlarging and restoring various natural habitats on the site and providing environmentally sensitive public access in the form of trails, boardwalks, and low-impact structures. To support quality public visitation that is consistent with our mission, SEF is working to develop and design concepts for interpretive elements at the LWP including fixed signage, brochures, online audiovisual presentations, and other products to provide information to individuals visiting the Preserve outside of the context of an organized programs.

Museum on Main Street Local Exhibit - “Voices and Votes” Democracy in America – Queen Anne’s Historical Society

In 2020, the Queen Anne’s County Historical Society was selected to be a host site by Maryland Humanities for the Museum on Main Street program. The Historical Society received funding to develop interpretive materials for the local exhibit that is part of Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program exhibit – “Voices and Votes, Democracy in America”.

Small Town Big Artist - Sumner Hall

G. A. R. Post #25, Inc. (Sumner Hall) is pleased to present a unique children’s program designed, produced, and directed by Teverly Swinson, a member of SmalltownsBIGARTISTS (STBA). STBA is a local music collective made up of musicians, poets, technicians, producers, and deejays. Since its founding, STBA has received non-monetary resources and support – including research about Chestertown’s Historical African American Business Culture, advertising, and production advice – by a number of community leaders. SmalltownsBIGARTISTS (STBA) Littles will be producing a local kids' performance, to debut in the Summer, 2021. Sumner Hall was the venue for STBA Littles practice sessions and meetings in the past year.

The Old Shrewsbury Cemetery Project - Shrewsbury Church and Cemetery

The Old Shrewsbury Cemetery Project will develop a new heritage tourism product which communicates cultural, historical, and natural resources. The Project will be an interdisciplinary collaboration of genealogy, history, geographic information systems, natural and cultural resource protection, and conservation. It will also connect the interpretation of white and black cultural resources in the Heritage Area and enhance the visitor experience. It will provide foundational works leading to the creation of a new visitor interpretation center in the northern part of Kent County directly off 213, the principal north south vehicular spine of Kent County. 

Voices on the Water – Echo Hill Outdoor School

Since 1972, Echo Hill Outdoor School has owned, maintained, and operated a diverse collection of historic Chesapeake Bay work boats that serve as classrooms and cultural experiences. Four of the vessels are docked at the Chestertown Marina. Echo Hill has begun a program to turn a portion of the pier into an artistic and fun interactive experience for visitors to the Chestertown waterfront. The Stories of the Chesapeake grant will provide interpretive signage on the voices of the water telling stories of Bays people and place.

The Stories of the Chesapeake works with community partners to tell the story of Maryland’s Eastern Shore through preservation and enriching experiences to promote the cultural and natural heritage of the region while enhancing its economic vitality. Earlier this year, the Stories of the Chesapeake enabled MHAA grants of $548,912 for 13 projects and $57,500 in COVID-19 Emergency Grants to four local organizations. To learn more about The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area www.storiesofthechesapeake.org

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