Historic Preservation


Historic preservation is wide-ranging, spanning the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Its essential nature is multidisciplinary, requiring cooperation across many fields, architecture, the humanities, social sciences, the building trades, law, economics and art history.


Within this environment, the historic preservationist is chartered to care for material culture represented by landscapes and monuments, as well as architecture in both its high styles and vernacular forms. To be effective, a historic preservationist must be able to work within a broad framework. The foundation of this effort is a clear understanding of the project area's history. Knowledge of history, however, must be supported by an understanding of contributing disciplines and, importantly, tempered by sensitivity to the social needs of the local community, which owns the material remnants and memories of that history.

The Historic Preservation Program

Historic preservation is a multidisciplinary field that cuts across the design fields, the social sciences and the humanities. Preservationists today must grapple with social, historical and cultural issues in order to work with a broad range of professionals in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. In order to achieve this goal the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland draws from the fields of American Studies, Anthropology, Architecture, Historic Preservation, History, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Studies and Planning. The program trains preservation professionals who will be familiar with the different disciplines and approaches that make up contemporary preservation practice.


A Master of Historic Preservation degree (MHP) from the University of Maryland responds to the complex needs of the historic preservation profession. It combines a broad reach of advanced individual and collaborative course work with research and practical experience gained through a summer internship. Subjects such as public policy, economic development, historical interpretation and cultural diversity are emphasized alongside traditional preservation topics such as documentation, historical scholarship, preservation planning and design. The goal is to gain knowledge and experience in critical decision-making, management, and conservation. Contemporary historic preservation practice addresses the needs of a complex and diverse society. To reflect the demands of our changing world, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation is committed to increasing diversity in its curriculum, recruitment practices and research.


Maryland's Historic Preservation program draws on the extraordinary resources of the state and the Washington/Baltimore region. The program enjoys relationships with several prominent national, state, regional and local preservation organizations. Guest lecturers include the field's leading professionals from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, US/ICOMOS, the Maryland Historical Trust, Preservation Maryland and Prince George's Heritage. On the University campus, the National Trust Library provides an unmatched archive and research resource.  

Historic Preservation Program Strategic Plan




UMD Preservation regards community as a fundamental historic preservation value and resource. We are committed to educating leaders who engage communities around issues of preservation and heritage, working in our diverse region and across the nation. We are also committed to helping cultivate a sense of community among and between our students, faculty, and constituencies.


Diversity and Inclusion

UMD Preservation values an inclusive preservation practice that embraces diversity of race, gender/sexuality, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity. We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive academic and professional preservation practice that works side by side with all community leaders, residents, and stakeholders and builds long-term, equitable relationships, especially with communities of color and other marginalized communities.


Interdisciplinary Collaboration

UMD Preservation recognizes and highly values the interdisciplinary nature of historic preservation practice and supports and encourages interdisciplinary collaboration across our campus and the profession. Multiple disciplinary perspectives help us better understand the needs of all community residents and stakeholders and to craft creative and innovative solutions to pressing societal problems.


Social Justice

UMD Preservation values approaches to preserving our past that recognize and enhance social justice in the present. We are committed to directing preservation practice toward marginalized communities and communities of color, wherever possible, and to approaching preservation practice that embraces fairness, equity, and justice.



UMD Preservation values innovation and critical analysis that moves us beyond traditional concepts of preservation philosophy and practice to ensure the relevance of historic preservation in the 21st century and beyond. Our focus on inclusion and equity as a core value of preservation pushes the boundaries of traditional practice as does our focus on a broad suite of resources, both tangible and intangible, and the application of the latest digital approaches and technologies to solving preservation’s pressing issues.



UMD Preservation values hands-on, experiential learning made possible by a talented and diverse faculty and a location amidst the urban centers of Washington and Baltimore and the broader Chesapeake Bay region. Our courses engage with community residents, regulators, and practitioners to hone the skills and instill the professional values required to succeed in a preservation career. In so doing, we prepare students to be future leaders in the field of preservation and in society at large.





The Historic Preservation Program at the University of Maryland will change the face of the profession by graduating practitioners who engage diverse communities in critical considerations of value, significance, and change, and are committed to social and environmental justice. Diversity among program graduates (including race, gender/sexuality, ethnicity, and intellectual field) increases the profession’s ability to make a positive impact on a changing and complex nation and world. The Maryland preservation program teaches students to focus on and analyze the impact of preservation practices and decisions on people as well as the built environment. The goal is to graduate students who think creatively about how to value the past in ways that engage and enhance the present and future for all stakeholders. Our concept of preservation includes interdisciplinary collaboration, community-engaged practice, cultural sustainability, and social justice, incorporating both tangible and intangible heritage considerations. In particular, we seek to draw on and contribute to the resources, communities, and individuals of the State of Maryland and the surrounding region. We seek a program nationally recognized as a leader in training practicing professionals who understand the social and cultural costs and benefits of preservation and are equipped to solve problems and lead in this multidisciplinary profession. 





It is our mission to establish for our students and faculty an inclusive, creative, and supportive learning and research environment for the study of historic preservation theory and practice. We recognize and emphasize the context of current social, political, economic, and technical issues that affect the public realm. We educate preservationists and allied professionals to analyze, appreciate, and preserve our rich cultural heritage with an understanding of the challenges that arise from society’s competing values. We make significant contributions to knowledge in preservation research, education, and service.

Five-Year External Review of the Historic Preservation Program

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